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Full text of "Sermons preached in the African Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Thomas', Philadelphia"

S. G. and E. L. ELBERT 









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SERMONS 



PREACHED 



IN THE 



Mm IrotBstant (Kpistupl Cl^irtb, 



OF 



ST. THOMAS', PHILADELPHIA. 



WM, DOUGLASS, Rector. 



PHILADELPHIA: 

KING & BAIRD, PRS., No. 9 SANSON STREET. 
1854. 



TO THE 

CONGREGATION OF 

ST. THOMAS' PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH, PHILADELPHIA ; 

THE FOLLOWING SERMONS, 

PREPARED AND PREACHED FOR THEIR BENEFIT, 

ARE AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED, 

AS A SMALL EXPRESSION OF GRATITUDE 

FOR THE MANY TOKENS 

OF ESTEEM AND LOVE 

BESTOWED UPON THE AUTHOR 

DURING HIS PAROCHIAL LABORS 

AMONG THEM 

FOR THE PERIOD OF NINETEEN YEARS. 



Philadelphia, November, 1853. 



CONTENTS. 



SERMON I. 
THE GOD OP HOPE. 



Page. 



Now the God op hope fill you with all joy and 

PEACE IN BELIEVING, THAT YE MAY ABOUND IN 
HOPE, THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST. 

Rom. xv. 13 9 



SERMON II. 

PEACE IN CHRIST. 

These things I have spoken unto you that in me 

te might have peace. — Jno. xvi. 33 29 



t) CONTENTS. 

SERMON III. 
SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF GAIUS. 

Page. 
The eldeb, unto the well-beloved Gaius whom I 

LOVE IN THE TRUTH. BELOVED, I WISH ABOVE 
ALL THINGS THAT THOU MAYEST PROSPER AND BE 
IN HEALTH, EVEN AS THY SOUL PROSPERETH 
FOR I REJOICED GREATLY, WHEN THE BRETHREN 
CAME AND TESTIFIED OF THE TRUTH THAT IS IN 
THEE, EVEN AS THOU WALKEST IN THE TRUTH. 

3dEpis. Jno. 1, 2, 3 53 

SERMON IV. 
MUTUAL FORBEARANCE AND FORGIVENESS. 
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one 
another, if any man have a quarrel against 
any, even as christ forgave you, so also do 
ye.— Col. iii. 13 71 

SERMON V. 

THE SIN OF GRIEVING THE SPIRIT. 
And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. — Eph. 

iv. 30 93 



CONTENTS. 7 

SERMON VI. 

THE FORBEARANCE AND RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE OF 

GOD. 

Page. 

The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, 
and will not at all acquit the wicked. 
Nahum. i. 3 Ill 

SERMON VII. 

PRICE IN HAND OF THE FOOLISH TO GET WISDOM. 

Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a 
fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart 
to it? — Prov. xvii. 16 133 

SERMON VIII. 
THE SHORTNESS AND UNCERTAINTY OF TIME. 
But THIS I SAY BRETHREN THE TIME IS SHORT. — 

1 Cor. vii. 29 153 

SERMON IX. 
ADMONITION TO REDEEM THE TIME. 
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 

Eph. v. 16 173 



» CONTENTS. 

SERMON X. 
THE WISDOM OE DULY CONSIDERING THE LATTER END. 

Pace 
THAT THEY WERE WISE, THAT THEY UNDERSTOOD 
THIS, THAT THEY WOULD CONSIDER THEIR LATTER 

end! — Deut. xxxii. 29 193 

SERMON XI. 
A SACRED NEARNESS TO GOD RECOMMENDED. 
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to 

you. — Gen. Epis. James iv. 8... 213 

SERMON XII. 
HAPPY END OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD. 
For David after he had served his own genera- 
tion by the will of God, fell on sleep. 
Acts xiii. 36 231 



S E E M N I. 

THE GOD OF HOPE. 

"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and 

PEACE IN BELIEVING, THAT YE MAY ABOUND IN HOPE, 
THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY GlIOST." 

Rom. xv. 13. 

In how many consoling aspects do the 
inspired writings represent the great 
Sovereign of the Universe, at whose 
dread tribunal mankind are destined to 
appear, to render an account of the deeds 
done in the body. Conscious as we all 
are of guilt and condemnation, had we 
no other point of view to contemplate 
our Creator, than, as All-wise, Just and 
Omnipotent, what an accumulation of 
bitterness would be mixed in that cup 
of sorrow, of which, all more or less are 
forced to partake, in their pilgrimage 

2 



I 



10 THE GOD OF HOPE. [SER. I. 

through mortality. There would then 
be on the ocean of life, no haven of calm 
repose to the troubled heart — it would 
be perpetually tossed between the surg- 
ing billows of faint hopes and alarming 
fears. From the general goodnes of God 
as displayed in his Providence, providing 
all things plentifully both for man and 
beast — "giving us rain from heaven and 
fruitful seasons, filling our liearls with food 
and gladness' 1 — from this single point 
of view of God's Providence, we might 
solace ourselves with some faint hopes 
of his kind regards towards his erring 
and sinful creatures. But how soon 
would this hope be succeeded by the 
most gloomy apprehensions in beholding 
different aspects of the same Providence. 
In view of the lightnings of heaven deso- 
lating the habitations of man, and fear- 
ful earthquakes ingulfing towns and 
cities with their inhabitants — " the 'pesti- 
lence that walketh in darkness" and " the 
1 Acts xiv., 17. 



SER. I.] THE GOD OF HOPE. 11 

destruction thai wasteth at noon-day" 1 — -the 
variety of diseases and disasters to which 
man is subject from the cradle to the 
grave ; in view of these awful indications 
of punitive justice, liope, in the clemency 
of God would give way to agonizing fear. 
The observing of our moral duties (at 
best but very defective) could not restore 
solid peace to our anxious hearts. The 
consciousness of personal guilt and trans- 
gression, with its attendant forebodings 
of the wrath to come, would forbid it. 
Upon our destiny in the future world, 
would hang an impenetrable cloud. If 
we anticipated any thing at the eventful 
close of our mortal career, it could be 
nothing but the righteous vengeance of 
Heaven, upon our repeated violations of 
his laws. This would be our wretched 
state, had we no grounds to regard our 
Maker in any other aspect than as All- 
wise, Just and Omnipotent. But the 
great Father of the Universe has not 

1 Ps. xci, ? 6. 



12 THE GOD OF HOPE. [SER. I. 

thus hid from his church and people 
the smilings of his countenance. He 
has made a further revelation of his 
divine character in the inspired volume. 
The representations he has there made 
of himself, so far from being repulsive, 
are the most pleasing and attractive. 
They are calculated to excite hope and 
confidence, and thereby win our affec- 
tions. For while we therein learn that 
ha "will not at all acquit the ivicTced" 1 
we are also informed from the same 
divine oracles, that he is " the Lord, the 
Lord God, merciful and gracious, abun- 
dant in goodness* — the God of all com- 
fort, 3 the God of all gracef the God of 
peace." 5 These titles, with others of a 
similar character that ^might be men- 
tioned, are indicative, of not only what 
our Creator is in himself, but also what 
he is to us. In the words of the text, 

1 Nahum. i., 3. a Ex. xxxiv., 6. 

3 2 Cor. i., 3. 4 2 Peter v., 10. 

5 Horn. xv. j 33. 



SER. I.] THE GOD OE HOPE. 13 

he is presented under the endearing title 
of the God of hope. He is thus repre- 
sented, because that "lively hope" which 
can sustain the soul amidst the various 
trials of life comes from God, and finally 
leads us on to the enjoyment of his 
beatifick presence. 

There is a hope which man derives 
from the constitution of his nature. It 
shows itself in early childhood. At 
mature age, he clings, to it as a cheerful 
companion in his multiplied pursuits in 
life, and too often, never relaxes his 
grasp upon the airy phantom, until com- 
pelled to do so by the irresistible arm of 
death. What is it that gives the most 
buoyancy and light-heartedness to the 
smiling youth ? Is it the survey of the 
wondrous works of nature, and the great 
achievements of human skill that pre- 
sent themselves to their senses ? . Or, 
will the novelty of these scenes account 
for their wonted hilarity and glee? No. 

2* 



14 THE GOD OF HOPE. [SER. I. 

It is hope in the future of joys to be 
realized in the acquisition of this, that, 
or the other prize which earth imparts 
to a few of her devoted followers. What 
is it that buoys up the mariner as he 
leaves his friends, kindred and home, to 
brave the perils of the deep, but hope, 
that he will safely return with the fruits 
of his hard toil and labor. What but 
hope that sustains the soldier as he leaves 
his domestic comforts, to engage in the 
strife and dangers of the battle field ? 
It is true, that patriotism, a sense of duty 
to his country, may strengthen his heart 
and give energy to his arm ; but the hope 
that he may escape death and return to 
his native land to share the honors of 
successful war, is the secret ^spring that 
nerves him up -to the terrible encounter. 
What is it that has inspired so many for 
the past few years, to suspend their busi- 
ness and leave their homes for the gold 
regions of Australia and California; but 
the hope of returning richly repaid for all 



SER. I.] THE GOD OF HOPE. 15 

the hard drudgery to which they sub- 
mitted. What is it that cheers the sick 
man upon his bed of languishing but the 
hope, that through medical aid and good 
attendance, he will again renew his 
wonted strength and vigor, and be thus 
prepared to resume his daily avocation. 
This hope as we before said is natural to 
us ; and seems to be a merciful provision to 
keep man from sinking under the various 
difficulties and trials of his probationary 
state. It is the spring that gives him 
life and activity in all his movements. 

But, as all the faculties, powers and 
affections of the •soul, have so far suffered 
by the sad fall of our fore-parents, that 
they incline to things that are " earthly, 
sensual and devilish" 1 rather than to 
those things that are pure, spiritual and 
godlike, hope therefore, unrenewed by 
divine grace, proves to be a deceitful 
guide. The object of pursuit is far from 
being attained in every case. In those 

1 James iii., 15. 



16 THE GOD OF HOPE. [SER. I. 

instances where it is attained, this hope 
is sure to be disappointed in the enjoy- 
ment of the happiness fondly anticipated. 
The young and sprightly may not realize 
their airy dreams of future joys and plea- 
sures. The stern realities of life will 
ever and anon admonish them of the 
vanity of their pursuits. The soldier, 
who hopes to return from the battle and 
receive the plaudit and honors of his 
countrymen, may leave his carcass among 
heaps of the slain, to be devoured by the 
beasts of the field and the fowls of the 
air. The sick man may be forced to 
resign hope, and yield to despair of 
recovery, as death approaches with his 
cold and icy hand upon his vitals. 

The hope referred to in the text, 
grows not in nature's garden. It is the 
fruit of the Holy Spirit. The endearing 
object of its regard is God, the inex- 
haustible fountain of blessedness. It 
therefore never fails — it never disap- 
points us— it "maketli not ashamed; because 



SER. I.] THE GOD OF HOPE. 17 

the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts 
by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." 1 
This holy hope is u an anchor of the soid, 
both sure and steadfast, and lohich entereth 
into that within the vail" 2 Hence it 
buoys up the Christian under all the 
trials, troubles and afflictions of life. It 
will sustain him when u flesh and heart 
faileth." 5 It will lead him with sweet 
serenity and peace over Jordan's river, 
and convey him safely to Canaan's happy 
land. This heavenly guide will as infal- 
libly lead the regenerate soul into the 
beatifick presence of the King of saints and 
angels 7 as did the miraculous star in the 
east, which unerringly guided the wise 
men to the consecrated spot, where their 
astonished and adoring eyes beheld " God, 
manifest in the flesh" 4 The hope now 
referred to can have no place where there 
is an absence of a true living faith in the 
Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of 

1 Ptom. v., 5. 3 Hebrews, vi., 19. 

3 Psa. lxxiii., 26. 4 1 Tim. ii;, 16. 



18 THE GOD OP HOPE. [SER. I. 

sinners. Faith lies at the foundation, 
and sustains hope. It is the property 
of faith to lay hold of the precious decla- 
rations and promises of God as contained 
in his written word, and to apply and 
appropriate them. Hope, desires and 
expects to realize all what God has 
thus promised. In the exercise of faith 
in the promises, joy and peace spring up 
in the soul : and as hope follows upon 
faith, so faith, as it increases, causes hope 
to ■ 'abound' more and more. Hence the 
prayer of the Apostle in behalf of his 
Christian brethren at Eome: — that, "the 
God of hope would fill" them "with all 
joy and peace in believing that" they "may 
abound in hope through the power of the 
Holy Ghost" 

They, therefore, who live in the enjoy- 
ment of this hope are the sincere and 
humble followers of Christ, who are born 
again of the Spirit, and exalted to the 
high dignity of " the sons of God." 1 They 
1 1 John, iii. ; 22. 



SER. I.] THE GOD OF HOPE. 19 

" in time past walked according to the course 
of this world, according to the prince of the 
power of the air, the spirit that now worketh 
in the children of disobedience" 1 "being 
aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and 
strangers from the covenants of promise, hav- 
ing no hope, and without God in the world." 2 
But through the rich mercy and grace of 
God, the eyes of their understanding were 
enlightened to perceive and feel their 
wretched state and condition as sinners 
before God. They saw themselves utterly 
cut off from all hope of pardon and re- 
conciliation with their Maker, u by the 
deeds of the law" they had so often vio- 
lated. All hope of working out a right- 
eousness of their own, was immediately 
crushed, upon meditating the startling 
declaration : " Cursed is every one that con- 
tinueih not in all things which are written 
in the booh of the law to do them." 5 But, 
on beholding that u : new and living way" 

1 Eph. I, 2. 2 Bph. ii., 12. 3 Gal. iii,, 10. 



20 THE GOD OF HOPE. [SER. I. 

opened up for us by the blood of Jesus, 
they " fled for refuge to lay hold upon" 
that " blessed hope/' which is " set before 
us" in the gospel. They found shelter 
from the wrath of God, the curse of the 
law, under the protection of the all-suffi- 
cient sacrifice of Christ. From his inex- 
haustible fulness, they receive fresh sup- 
plies of grace to enable them to " live 
soberly, righteously and godly, in this 
present world" — " to use the world as not 
abusing it" — u to pass through things tem- 
poral, so as not to lose those things that 
are eternal." 



brethren, — the experience of a 
goodly number of you, I trust, has thus 
been briefly sketched. Some among you 
have been timely awakened to see the 
vanity of all that here dazzle and delude 
the thoughtless and impenitent. You have 
been enabled, through grace, to loosen your 
attachment to them, and to prefer those 
joys that are pure, spiritual and heavenly. 



SEE. I.] THE GOD OF HOPE. 21 

Your happy condition here does not ex- 
empt you from pain, sorrow, and trials of 
various kinds. These you have to meet, 
as they come in their turn. But in the 
midst of them all, you may sympathize 
with the Psalmist when he said, " I wait 
for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his 
word do I hope." 1 Let me exhort you 
therefore, to "hold fast the beginning of 
your confidence firm unto the end" Let 
your tribulations, trials and afflictions be 
what they may, "press" onward " toivard 
the marh for the prize of the high calling of 
God in Christ Jesus" increasing and 
abounding in hope. Are you walking in 
darkness and have no light ? Hear what 
your Almighty friend and father says to 
his afflicted Church, and hope on. "In a 
little wrath I hid my face from thee for a 
moment ; but with everlasting Idndness will 
I have mercy on thee saith the Lord thy 
Redeemer. For the mountains shall depart, 
and the hills be removed ; but my Idndness 
1 Psa. cxxx.j 5. 

3 



22 THE GOD OF HOPE. [SER. I. 

shall not depart from thee, neither shall the 
covenant of my peace he removed, saith the 
Lord that hath mercy on thee." 1 Are you 
struggling against the fierce winds of ad- 
versity ? Listen to the cheering voice of 
your Kedeemer and lift up your hearts. — 
" The very hairs of your head" says he, 
" are all numbered." 2 There is no such 
thing as chance in the history of God's 
people. Every event of their life, however 
afflictive in its character, is a link in that 
golden chain, which is to raise them pro- 
gressively, from earth to heaven. Are you 
bowed down with the weight of years and 
their increasing infirmities ? Hope in God 
and rejoice, that the time is so near at hand, 
when angels at the gate of Paradise, shall 
hail you as an immortal born; born " to 
an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled and 
that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven 
for you, who are hept by the power of God 
through faith unto salvation, ready to be 
revealed in the last time." 3 

1 Isa. liy., 8-10. 3 Luke, xii., 7. 3 1 Peter, i., 4. 



SER. I.] THE GOD OF HOPE. 23 

A word of admonition and entreaty to 
that class of our hearers, whose hopes are 
all centered in this lower world. It is 
true my deluded friends, that this earth 
has its peculiar attractions. The innu- 
merable multitude, that in every land, 
throng the " broad toay that leadeth to 
destruction" is proof positive, that some 
strong enchantments are beguiling their 
devious pathway to the unknown future. 
But bear in mind, do not forget, in your 
silly chase after a phantom, that this 
planet, with all its fine furniture, is to be 
dissolved. " The day of the Lord will 
come as a thief in the night, in the which, 
the heavens shall pass away with a great 
noise, and the elements shall melt with fer- 
vent heat, the earth also and the ivories that 
are therein shall be burned up. Nevertheless, 
we according to his promise look for new 
heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth 
righteousness." 1 Yery precious, indeed, to 
the Christian, is this promise. But it can 
1 2nd Petar, iii. ; 10-13. 



24 THE GOD OP HOPE. [SER. I. 

afford no ground of hope to characters 
which you now sustain. In these new 
heavens and new earth spoken of, you can 
have no portion. " There shall in no wise 
enter into it any thing that defileth, neither 
tvhatsoever worlcetli abomination, or maketh 
a lie: hut they which are written in the 
Lamb's booh of lifer 1 As your hopes were 
placed upon the idols of earth, with the 
idols of a burning earth, you will then be 
left to perish. The lot of all who shall 
then sustain the characters that you now 
do, must be with hypocrites, unbelievers, 
and all the abominable in the region of 
hopeless misery and despair. We turn 
aside from this awful picture to urge you 
to seek, for, you may yet obtain the Chris- 
tian's hope. You are yet within the reach 
of mercy. The gospel with its inviting 
voice, still calls. — Conscience, in clamor- 
ous tones, still warns. — The Holy Spirit, 
though as still in his influences as the 
dew of the morning, yet powerfully strives 
1 Rev. xxi. ; 27. 



SER. I.] THE GOD OF HOPE. 25 

with you. — The great High Priest who 
has passed into the heavens, still pleads 
in your behalf. Your condition, there- 
fore, wretched though it be, is not despe- 
rate. However, there is something to be 
done on your part, before you can attain 
this inestimable prize. You must be up 
and doing, co-operating with God. While 
he workeih in you to will and to do of his 
good pleasure^ you are to " work out your 
own salvation with fear and trembling." 
This hope is not attained by a few lazy 
wishes and half-hearted endeavors. It is 
attained only by an earnest, diligent and 
persevering use of all the appointed means 
of grace. There are difficulties to be sur- 
mounted : hence, you are called upon in 
the strength of divine grace, to renounce 
the hidden works of darkness; to "strive to 
enter in at the straight gate;' to " labor to 
enter into rest" It is treasured up in 
Christ ; therefore, your longing eye must 
be constantly fixed upon him. In his 
all-prevailing name alone, you must ap- 

3* 



26 THE GOD OF HOPE. [SER. I. 

proach the throne of heavenly grace, and 
ask, if you would receive, seek, if you 
would find, and knock* knock, and knock 
again, if you would have the door opened 
unto you. You have the divine assur- 
ance, that every one that thus " asketli 
receiveth; and he that seeketh fincleth; 
and to him that knocketh it shall he opened." 1 
Oh, let me entreat you to begin this strug- 
gle in good earnest. It is a noble and 
magnanimous struggle — a battle against 
self, against " flesh and blood ; against prin- 
cipalities and powers ; against spiritual 
wickedness in high places." It is therefore, 
a formidable struggle. Apparently, the 
odds are against you. Not so. Greater 
is He that is for you, than all that can be 
against you in this greatest of all battles. 
Angels look on with the most intense in- 
terest, to see the issue. And whenever 
they recognize the cry of a soul newly 
born of the Spirit, they immediately raise 
the loud shout in heaven : — " the dead is 

1 Matt, vii., 8. 



SER. I.] THE GOD OE HOPE. 27 

alive, the lost is found" God the Father, 
who gave his only begotten Son to atone 
for your sins- — God the Son, who redeemed 
you by his blood — God the Holy Ghost, 
who sanctifieth the people of God, are all 
on your side in this noble warfare. Then 
desert the camp of Satan. You know 
that he has often deceived you, and but 
for the Lord's mercy would have long 
since led you onward to the pit of endless 
woe. Escape then for your life : flee for 
refuge to lay hold upon that hope which 
comes from God, and will lead you to 
those ineffable joys which He has laid up 
for those who love him. 



SERMON II. 

PEACE IN CHRIST. 
" These things i have spoken unto you, that in me 

YE MIGHT HAVE PEACE." John, XvL, 33. 

Peace of mind, is an object so invalua- 
ble in itself, that there is no human being 
but what regards it as worthy of his 
most anxious toils and ardent pursuit 
Men may not be uniform in their ways 
to obtain it, yet, the desire to enjoy it, is 
implanted deeply in every bosom. But 
the great and important question is :— 
Where is it to be found ? 

Is it to be found in the empty mirth 
and sinful pleasures of the world ? So 
thinks the thoughtless and inexperienced 
youth who is anxious to be free from 
parental care and restraint, that he may 



30 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SEU. II. 

give loose rein to the indulgence of his 
carnal and corrupt appetites and passions. 
He views the sober class of society with 
a degree of pain and disgust. To their 
quiet and sedate movements he finds 
nothing in himself congenial. If he at 
all admits the wisdom and propriety of 
their course, he is sure to do it in such a 
way as to shield himself from conviction. 
A strict regard to the serious affairs of 
religion, is proper only, as he will have it, 
for the aged, the sick and dying. But as 
it regards the young and sprightly, let 
them eat. drink and be merry — let them 
mingle in the circle where counte- 
nances brighten, and the heart leaps up 
at the sound of the timbrel and dance ; 
where their ears are saluted with the loud 
laugh and the merry song. This, is their 
proper element, here alone can the soul's 
native thirst for happiness be gratified. 
Thus reasons the votary of pleasure. 
But we would in all kindness beseech 
him to ponder his steps. Consider, if 



SER. II.] PEACE IN CHRIST. 31 

indeed, among your many frivolous 
thoughts there is room left for considera- 
tion, consider well the solemn and ad- 
monitory words, " There is a way which 
seemeth right unto a man, hut the end 
thereof, are the ways of death." 1 u Rejoice, 
young man, in thy youth, and let thy 
heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, 
and walk in the ways of thine heart, and 
in the sight of thine eyes ; bid know thou, 
that for all these things, God will bring thee 
into judgment." 2 Be not deceived by 
external appearances. The sprightly air, 
the elastic step, the high spirits that mark 
the men of worldly pleasure, are not to 
be regarded as infallible signs of inward 
peace. These outward marks, may be 
nothing more than a screen to hide from 
human view, an inward anguish of spirit, 
unknown to all but that Omniscient 
Being, from whom no secrets are hid. 
The pleasure enjoyed in gratifying the 
inordinate desires of the depraved heart, 
1 Prov. xiv. ; 12. 2 Ecc. xi., 9. 



32 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SER. II. 

is always followed, more or less, with 
painful reflections. It is a false pleasure. 
It is not a pleasure that results from the 
whole machinery of man, moving on in 
harmonious order, but a pleasure conse- 
quent upon doing violence to the highest 
faculty of our moral nature. There can 
be no pleasure in sin, unless steps are 
taken to hush the clamoring voice of 
conscience, and thus degrade the im- 
mortal spirit by bringing it into subjection 
to the animal nature. When men suc- 
ceed in this, then, they have a pleasure 
similar to what is enjoyed in a delightful 
dream, when the imagination chiefly is 
at work — a pleasure, equally as false, and 
which they find to be so, when they 
are awakened by the rebukes of the 
Spirit, or the fatal blow of death, who 
forces them to acknowledge, that alas ! 
it was but a dream. We proceed now 
to inquire : — 

1. Whether or not true peace is to be 
found in the acquisition of wealth. One 



SER. II.] PEACE IN CHRIST. 33 

might suppose that it is, judging from 
the great struggle there is among men in 
order to acquire it. But a very slight 
observation of those who have been suc- 
cessful in this respect will convince us 
of the contrary. There is nothing more 
remarkable in man, than his proneness 
to lose sight of whatever he may possess 
of earthly riches, in his ardent desire to 
add to his possessions. Vfhatever may 
be the opinion of his fellow-men with 
regard to his state, he himself is far from 
being satisfied. The point where he sup- 
poses that he might possibly consider 
himself happy, he has not attained. 
And should he attain it, he then finds 
that his desires are so much more 
enlarged, that he feels himself to be as 
far from happiness as he did before : 
such is the unsatisfying nature of tem- 
poral things. Besides this, there is the 
painful disquietude arising from the fear 
of loss. For it is impossible for man so 
to secure himself in these things as to be 

4 



34 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SER. II. 

out of all danger of loss. If he hear of 
a fire, or of a vessel losing her cargo, or 
of the sudden fall in the price of stock, 
or of the dishonesty of individuals he 
has credited ; or if he hear of the failure 
of some monied institution in which he 
is interested, he is filled with the most 
painful anxieties of mind, from which 
his present possessions cannot possibly 
relieve him. 

3. Is true peace to be found in the 
honors of the world — in fame ? What 
is fame ? We may have seen its nature 
illustrated in the history of the great 
political men of the present day. For a 
little while we see them puffed by the 
wind of a multitude; but how soon do 
we behold them by the same multitude 
as severely pelted. The conduct of the 
people toward our blessed Lord, forcibly 
illustrates the emptiness of fame, and 
clearly shows how little to be depended 
on is the applause of men. Those who 
at one time cried : — " Hosanna, blessed 



SER. II.] PEACE IN CHRIST. 35 

Is he that cometh in the name of the 
Lord," at another, unite in the tumul- 
tuous cry :— " Away with him, away with 
him, crucify him." There are few only, 
who by hard toiling and study, which 
" is a weariness of the flesh," ascend the 
hill of fame ; and those few, if they 
attained all the happiness anticipated 
by them, (which is far from being the 
case,) we find that they generally meet 
with a reverse which gives force to the 
exhortation of Scripture : " Cease ye from 
man whose breath is in his nostrils." 1 But 
suppose, what is very rare, that the 
breeze of popular favor should be unin- 
terrupted in its course — that fame's 
trumpet should sound forth their praise 
without one discordant note. Pleasing 
as this might be to the distinguished 
personage, it is certain, that this circum- 
stance can afford no comfort to the soul 
while the body lay prostrate upon a bed 

1 Isa. IL, 22. 



36 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SEE. II. 

of languishing — no stay and staff to the 
trembling spirit when the solemn hour 
of departing life arrives. A pompous 
funeral would, doubtless, follow the de- 
ceased to the house appointed for all 
living. Sculptured marble would tell to 
future ages the spot where rests the 
honored remains. A similar tribute of 
respect we may fairly conjecture, was 
paid to the memory of that noted world- 
ling we read of in holy writ. But it 
could not reach his case, or meet his 
necessity in the spirit land. While his 
surviving friends were eulogizing his 
name in this world, the thrilling mes- 
sage that came back from Dives was : 
"I am tormented in this flame." _ Thus 
have we briefly inquired of the pleasures, 
the profits, the honors of the world, and 
in each department, a voice is heard say- 
ing true peace is not to be found in me. 
Where then is true and substantial hap- 
piness to be found? Surely our heavenly 
Father has not produced in our bosoms 



SER. II.] PEACE IN CHRIST. 37 

this undying thirst after happiness to 
be a perpetual source of torment to us. 
Such a reflection cannot be indulged in 
for a moment without incurring the guilt 
of the most horrid blasphemy. u The 
Lord is good to all : and his tender mercies 
are over all his works." 1 The desire for 
happiness has been incorporated in our 
moral nature, for the benevolent purpose 
of inciting us to seek it where alone it 
can be found. Again we inquire, where 
can it be obtained ? Let us hear what 
the wise man of the east said on this 
subject. He was surrounded by all the 
magnificence and grandeur of a royal 
court. He was eminent for profound 
wisdom, and he diligently applied him- 
self to the seeking of this invaluable 
treasure. He tried every thing under 
the sun that man calls good and great. 
And what was the result of his long and 
patient research ? The conclusion of the 



1 Psa. exlv.j 9. 
4* 



38 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SER. II. 

whole matter to which he arrived was, 
to — u Fear God and keep his command- 
ments." 1 But a greater than Solomon is 
here — the Lord from heaven — He whom 
the prophet Isaiah points out as the 
" Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the 
Prince of Peace." 2 Let us then give the 
more earnest heed to what he says on 
this all-important subject : for he must 
be perfectly acquainted with the things 
that belong to our peace. He is now in 
communication with that favorite few 
from whom he is soon to take his depar- 
ture. And it is reasonable to suppose 
that he will plainly point out to them 
the path of peace. This he does : but 
his instructions on this subject are very 
different from the notions they enter- 
tained of happiness. Like many of the 
present day, their views were too much 
tinctured with the spirit of the world. 
To have the kingdom restored unto 

1 Ecc. xii. ; 13. 2 Isa, ix., 6. 



SER. II.] PEACE IN CHRIST. 39 

Israel appears then to have been the 
height of their ambition. And they had 
entertained the hope that the great 
object of his advent into this world was 
to effect this desired end. But to their 
great surprise, he expatiates upon his 
death, resurrection and ascension to 
heaven, and the glorious results that 
would flow therefrom. In the precious 
words that fell from his lips his God-like 
benevolence shone forth conspicuously. 
He knew very well the severe trials and 
difficulties to which his disciples would be 
exposed after his departure from them. 
He knew that neither the temporal pros- 
perity and glory of Israel, or any thing 
else in this world was calculated to afford 
solid peace to the soul. But he would 
not leave them comfortless. Hence in 
infinite love and compassion he assures 
them that peace could be found no where 
else but in him. u These things I have 
spoken unto you that in me ye might have 
peace." 



40 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SER. II. 

" To he in Christ" is a Scriptural 
expression that deserves special notice. 
You are aware that the inspired volume 
in representing the wretched condition of 
fallen and degenerate man, sets before 
him as the only firm ground of hope, 
the vicarious atonement of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ. It directs us with 
penitent hearts and a lively faith to 
ground our expectation of pardoning 
mercy at the hand of God, solely on 
the all-prevailing merits of the Saviour. 
Now, as those only who thus rely, derive 
from him all the special benefits,* bless- 
ings and privileges procured by his death, 
they are therefore represented as being 
in him, or united to him by the appro- 
jDriating property of that "faith which 
works by love, purifies the heart, and 
overcomes the world." This spiritual 
union is compared by our Lord to the 
vital connexion that exists between the 
branch and the vine. "lam the vine" 
says he, "ye are the branches: he that 



SER. II.] PEACE IN CHRIST. 41 

ahideth in me, and I in him, the same 
hrmgeth forth much fruit: for loithout nie 
ye can do nothing" 1 As the branch de- 
rives all its nourishment from its union 
to the parent stock, so does the Christian 
in like manner derive spiritual life, vigor 
and fruitfulness through his union to Christ 
by true faith. The characters therefore 
who are properly designated as being in 
Christ, are his true sincere followers; and 
the happy result that follows from this 
connexion is — they have peace. Let us 
consider the nature of this peace which 
can be found nowhere else but in Christ. 
It is a spiritual peace, heavenly and 
divine in its nature and origin. It is a 
peace that relates to our Maker, our own 
consciences and to all mankind. No one 
is at peace with God in his natural and 
impenitent state. In the bosom of every 
man until renewed by divine grace, there 
is a principle directly at war with the 
Most High. It is irreconcilable in its 

1 St. Jno. xv. ; 5. 



42 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SER. IT. 

hostility to the divine government. " The 
carnal mind is enmity against God, is not 
subject to his laws, neither indeed can be." 
In consequence of this hostile position 
maintained by the impenitent they are 
objects of Heaven's righteous displeasure ; 
and will inevitably perish by the hand of 
divine justice, unless they avert it by a 
timely reconciliation to his plan of salva- 
tion, devised in mercy for the full reco- 
very of man from the sad ruins of the fall. 
Hence " there is no peace to the wicked, 
they are like the troubled sea, that cannot 
rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." 
They cannot enjoy peace and friendship 
with God. They sit in darkness and in 
the region and shadow of death. " God 
is light, and in him is no darkness at 
all." Light and darkness cannot amal- 
gamate. 6 Two cannot walk together ex- 
cept they agree.' The ungodly may often 
contrive to hush the voice of conscience 
and sing-a false peace to themselves ; but 
there will be special seasons in their his- 



SER. II.] PEACE IN CHRIST. 43 

tory when they are made to sweat and 
agonize under its tortures, and the fearful 
forebodings of the wrath to come. Now 
as such persons are enemies to God, ene- 
mies to themselves, they must also be 
enemies to the true peace and happiness 
of their fellow men. For he who is blind 
to his own best interest, cannot be pre- 
pared to consult the true interest of others. 
They are all marshalled on the side of 
their great Leader; "the Prince of the 
power of the air, the spirit that now worketh 
in the children of disobedience." 1 Their 
influence is in opposition to that kingdom 
which Christ came to establish — that 
" kingdom" that consists " in righteousness, 
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" And 
this is true of all the various grades of 
character that obtain among the impeni- 
tent. " He that is not with me" says our 
Lord, " is against me ; and he that gather- 
eth not with me scattereth abroad" 2 Thus 

1 Eph. ii. ; 2. 2 Matt, xii., 30. 



44 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SER. II. 

it is with the carnal mind which is en- 
mity against God, destitute of true inward 
peace, and in opposition to the true hap- 
piness of their fellow-men. On the other 
hand, those who maintain a vital union 
w T ith Christ, are new creatures — e they 
are begotten again' — they are " horn, not 
of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of 
the will of man, but of God." 1 Whereas 
in their unregenerate state, the principle 
of hostility against the divine government 
reigned in their bosoms, now, the hea- 
venly principle of love to God is graciously 
shed abroad in their hearts. And' while 
they evince their love to Him by a sin- 
cere and cheerful obedience to his laws, 
Pie manifests his love and friendship to 
them by sending forth his Spirit to seal 
their pardon, remove their guilt, and 
witness to their adoption into the hea- 
venly family: so that instead of being as 
before, tormented with a painful appre- 

1 Jn . I, 13. 



SER. II.] PEACE IN CHRIST. 45 

hension of his displeasure, they now have 
the sweet comfort of regarding him as 
their reconciled Friend and Father. They 
have no ground to look for perfect and 
uninterrupted happiness in this state of 
probation and trial. While they remain 
in this world, they expect their share of 
tribulation — they count it not strange, 
when they are in heaviness through 
manifold temptations. Of all this they 
have been forewarned by their Lord and 
Master, to whose sufferings they must in 
their measure be conformed, if they would 
hope to participate with him in the inef- 
fable glories of his kingdom above. But 
it is their exalted privilege at all times, 
to "look to the hill, from whence cometh 
their help" — to approach the throne of 
grace with humble boldness, and obtain 
mercy and find grace to help in their 
peculiar time of need — " in every tiling by 
prayer and supplication ivith thanksgiving" 
to c let' their " requests be made known unto 
God ; and the pea.ce of God wl rich pass eih 

5 



46 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SER. II. 

all understanding, shall keep" their " hearts 
and minds through Christ Jesus." 1 The 
peace that flows from this source is called 
the peace of God, because he is the author 
and supporter of it. It is said to pass all 
understanding, because its nature and 
excellency can be fully set forth by no 
human tongue. We do not say that the 
ungodly have no pleasure. It is the plea- 
sure which they enjoy in the gratification 
of their carnal desires, appetites and pas- 
sions, that so allures, captivates and holds 
them in durance vile, that they have no 
desire to be elevated above earth ; no 
desire to have their eyes opened to behold 
that radiant host of angels, patriarchs, 
prophets and apostles who all point to 
the Lamb of God as the only way to 
glory, immortality, and eternal life. So 
enfeebled are they in their moral nature, 
that they cannot command the energy to 
imitate the noble example of Moses, who 

1 Phil. iv. ; 6. 



SER. II.] PEACE IN CHRIST. 47 

would "rather suffer affliction with the 
people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of 
sin for a season!' 1 Ah ! how true it is, 
that the pleasures of sin are but for a 
season : — they are momentary. And be- 
sides, they leave an ' aching void' within. 
They leave nothing to which the mind 
can recur with pure and pleasing delight. 
Not so with the peace of God. The 
sweet tranquillity the believer enjoys 
from a sense of pardon and acceptance 
with his Maker, is rendered doubly pre- 
cious from the fact, that it is a pledge, a 
foretaste of that eternal " rest that remains 
for the people of God." Hence it is said 
to be l a peace that flows as a river.' As 
a river flows onward and becomes wider 
and deeper as it approaches the ocean into 
which it is ultimately lost ; so does the 
peace which Jesus gives, flow on pleas- 
antly in the soul, increasing in its depth, 
expanding in its onward course, until it 

1 Heb. xi. ; 25. 



48 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SER. II. 

is finally lost in the boundless ocean of 
never-ending peace. Here then is that 
precious jewel which can satisfy the soul 
of man, because it is every way suited to 
his immortal nature, and fully adequate 
to meet his wants both in this world and 
that which is to come. 

How unspeakably happy is the lot of 
sincere Christians. The blessed Kedeemer, 
though seated at the right hand of the 
majesty on high, yet manifests himself 
unto them as he does not unto the world. 
He still addresses you by his word and 
Spirit in the same tones of love, tender- 
ness and compassion, that charmed the 
hearts of that little band that followed 
him in the days of his humiliation. When 
you are in heaviness through manifold 
temptations — when exposed to the piti- 
less peltings of storm after storm — when 
the heart is sad and cheerless under the 
bereavement of some near and dear 
friend ; or when the foul breath of 
slander has prevailed against you, causing 



SER. II.] PEACE IN CHRIST. 49 

friends to forsake and enemies to ex- 
claim : c there, there, so we would have it ;' 
in these dark hours, you may hear the 
words of Jesus like the soft music of 
heaven falling sweetly upon your ears, 
saying, "Peace I leave with yon, my 'peace 
I give unto you : not as the world giveth, 
give I unto you. Let not your heart be 
troubled, neither let it be afraid." 1 Those 
among you, 'my brethren, whose experi- 
ence can bear witness to the peaceful 
paths of religion, should be careful to 
evince your inward tranquillity by an 
exhibition of Christian tempers, disposi- 
tions, words and actions ; by works of 
love and charity to your neighbors; by 
endeavoring to the utmost of your ability 
to promote the cause of your Redeemer in 
the* world. Thus will you be letting 
your light shine, and be preparing your- 
selves more and more for that glorious 
future not far in the distance, when the 

1 Jno. xiv., 27. 
5* 



50 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SER. II. 

cross shall be exchanged for the crown ; 
" light afflictions for an eternal weight of 
glory" 

There is another very interesting class 
of whom the blessed Jesus is far from 
being unmindful. We allude to those 
who are writing bitter things against 
themselves, who feel the burden of their 
sins to be intolerable, who are seeking 
true peace by a diligent use of the 
appointed means of grace. Such should 
be encouraged to persevere in hope of 
obtaining the pearl they so anxiously 
desire. Let them listen to Heaven's 
inviting voice, addressing their peculiar 
state, and dry up their tears. " Gome 
unto me all ye that labor and are heavy 
laden, and I will give you rest" 1 " If 'any 
man thirst, let him come unto me 'and 
drink." 2 While you are laying aside 
every weight and the sin that so easily 
besets you, continually look unto Jesus. 

1 Matt, xi., 28. 2 Jno. vii., 37. 



SER. II.] PEACE IN CHRIST. 51 

* 

Never lose sight of the cross, the Lamb 
of God that taketh away the sins of the 
world, for he alone is our peace. Shelter 
yourselves under the protection of his 
atoning blood, and you shall have peace : 
your darkness shall be turned into light, 
your mourning into songs of joy. 

But in what terms shall we address 
that numerous class of our fellow-crea- 
tures, who are hewing out to themselves 
cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no 
water; who are enemies to God, and con- 
sequently, utter strangers to true peace. 
We might with great propriety utter forth 
the terrible threatenings of God's word 
against all who persevere in their rebel- 
lion against his government. We might 
refer you to the many terrible exhibitions 
of his wrath upon the impenitent in 
former ages, illustrative of the truth, 
" that though hand join in hand, the wicked 
shall not be unpunished." 1 But we would 

1 Prov. xi. ; 22. 



52 PEACE IN CHRIST. [SER. II. 



I 



rather beseech you to be reconciled to 
God while as yet mercy may be sought, 
and pardon and peace obtained. "Where- 
fore do ye spend money for that which is 
not oread, and your labor for that which 
satisfieth not ? hearken diligently unto me" 
saith the Lord. " and eat ye that which is 
good, and let your soid delight itself in fat- 
ness. Incline your ear, and come unto me ; 
hear and your soul shall live." 1 

* Isa. lv., 2. 



SERMON III. 

SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF GAIUS. 

" The elder, unto the well-beloved Gaius whom I Love 
in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things 

THAT THOU MAYEST PROSPER AND BE IN HEALTH, EVEN AS 
THY SOUL PROSPERETH. FOE. I REJOICED GREATLY WHEN 
THE BRETHREN CAME AND TESTIFIED OF THE TRUTH THAT 
IS IN THEE, EVEN AS THOU WALKEST IN THE TRUTH." 

3 Epis. John 1, 2, 3 vs. 

This epistle is addressed to some con- 
verted Gentile called Gaius. But as 
there are three j)ersons of this name 
mentioned in the New Testament, there 
is an uncertainty with regard to the one 
particularly referred to. There is one 
Gaius of Corinth, whom St. Paul calls 
his " host, and" the host of u the lohole 
Church" 1 There is another named 
1 Horn. xvi. 23. 



54 SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OP GAIUS. [SER. III. 

c Gains I a native " of Macedonia" 1 who 
accompanied St. Paul, and spent some 
time with him at Ephesus. There is 
" Gains of Derhe" 2 who also was a fellow- 
traveller of the Apostle Paul. It is 
supposed, however, that the person here 
particularly addressed, was the Gaius 
of Corinth, as hospitality was a promi- 
nent feature in his character. The 
design of the Apostle in writing this 
epistle to Gaius, was to commend his 
steadfastness in the faith, and the general 
hospitality he had shown, especially, to 
the ministers of Christ. In carrying 
forward this design, he, in the mean 
time, rebukes one Diotrephes, who, had 
arrogantly assumed the chief direction 
in the affairs of the Church. He had 
not only refused a kind reception to 
those messengers of peace and salvation 
himself, but had hindered them from 
doing so who were thus disposed. The 

1 Acts ; xix. 29. 3 Acts, xx. 4. 



SER. III.] SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OP GAIUS. 55 

Apostle also commends an excellent 
person named Demetrius, whom he pro- 
posed as a pattern which the whole 
church might safely imitate. From the 
high commendation here so cordially 
given to Gaius, he must have been uni- 
versally regarded as a man of eminent 
piety, one, who was deeply concerned for 
the welfare and prosperity of the Church ; 
one who endeavored to the utmost of his 
ability to advance the cause of his 
Redeemer in the world. It was this 
that so greatly endeared him to the 
venerable Apostle. Hence he addresses 
him with all the tenderness of paternal 
affection — " The elder, unto the well-be- 
loved Gains ivhom I love in the truth, or 
truly love!' 

He manifests his sincere love and 
regard for him by earnestly praying for 
his prosperity, both in a temporal and 
spiritual point of view. " / wish above 
all things" or with respect to all things, 
u that thou mayest prosper and be in health 
even as thy sold prosper ell i." 



56 SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OP GAIUS. [SER. III. 

Prayer in its very nature, is an 
acknowledgement of our absolute de- 
pendance upon God for the blessings we 
petition at his hands. St. John, fully 
realizing the truth, that " every good 
gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, 
and cometh down from the Father of 
lights," prays that " Gaius might prosper 
and be in health." Thus, by his exam- 
ple, he inculcates upon us the duty of 
cultivating the spirit of dependance upon 
God for success in all our endeavors, to 
improve either our temporal or spiritual 
interests. The worldly-minded habitu- 
ally indulge an opposite spirit. They 
are wise in their own wisdom, and strong 
in their own strength. Hence they 
attribute the success and prosperity of 
their affairs to their own prudence and 
foresight. The folly and danger of this 
lofty spirit were aw T fuliy exemplified in 
that eventful crisis in the history of 
Nebuchadnezzar. While he walked 
abroad in his palace, revolving with a 



SEK. III.] SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF GAIUS. 57 

secret complacency his grandeur and 
magnificence, saying to himself, " Is not 
this great Babylon that I have built for the 
house of the kingdom, by the might of my 
power, and for the honor of my majesty f' 1 
While he thus, in the haughtiness of 
pride arrogated all the glory to himself; 
a voice from heaven declared to him that 
his kingdom was departed from him, 
that he should be driven from men, and 
his dwelling be with the beasts of the 
field, until he knew that the Most High 
ruled in the kingdoms of men and gave 
them to whomsoever he would. This 
proud spirit which refuses to acknowledge 
its dependance upon the Creator, the 
holy scriptures every where assure us is 
an object that God abominates : while on 
the other hand, the spirit manifested by 
the apostle, he highly approbates. " God 
resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the 
humble." 2 

Gaius, in behalf of whom the apostle 

1 Dan. iv. 30. 3 Jam. iv., 6. 



58 SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OP GAIUS. [SER. III. 

prays, seems to have been very prosperous 
with regard to his spiritual state. This 
appears, 

1st. From the genuineness of his faith. 
It is affirmed that " the truth was in him, 
and that he walked in, or according to the 
truth." Evangelical faith may be defined 
to be, a hearty belief of the truth as it is 
in Jesus. It is not a cold speculative 
principle, floating in the head without 
influencing the heart and life. It is a 
living, active principle, regulating the 
heart and outward conduct It takes the 
Lord at his word. It influences the pos- 
sessor to provide against the evil he 
threatens, and to pursue with earnestness 
and decision the good he promises. For 
instance, when God told Noah that the 
end of all flesh had come before him, and 
that he was about to deluge the earth 
with a flood ; Noah's faith in the testi- 
mony of God influenced him to provide 
against the threatened evil by preparing 
an ark for the saving of his house. When 



SER. III.] SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OP GAIUS. 59 

Lot was commanded to leave Sodom, 
being informed by unquestionable autho- 
rity that the Lord would destroy the city 
with its inhabitants ; his faith led him to 
flee to the mountain, the divinely ap- 
pointed place of refuge. It was this liv- 
ing, active faith, that marked the character 
of the Christian so highly commended in 
the passage under consideration. 

It is important to believe all the cardi- 
nal doctrines of Christianity, such as the 
Divinity of Christ, his vicarious sacrifice, 
the necessity of repentance, faith and 
obedience ; the doctrines of future rewards 
and punishment. But it is not enough 
speculatively to believe these truths; it 
is indispensable that we have a realizing 
sense of the great importance of them in 
their personal application ; otherwise, we 
shall stand justly charged with having 
only the form of godliness while we are 
destitute of the power thereof. It was 
not thus with the eminent Christian here 
proposed as a pattern worthy of imitation. 



60 SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF GAIUS. fSER. Ill 



L 



He was deeply sensible of the great neces- 
sity of personal holiness. Hence his faith 
led him to " renounce the devil and all 
his works, the pomps and vanity of this 
wicked world," and to present himself at 
the throne of heavenly grace, where he 
diligently sought and in due time found 
"■ that peace which the world cannot give." 
And having " the Holy Ghost given unto" 
him, all those graces that adorn and 
beautify the Christian character, viz., 
virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, 
brotherly-kindness, charity, all these were 
manifest in his life and conduct. For it 
is further said of him, that, 

2. "He walked in the truth." His 
course through life was in accordance 
with the requisitions of the gospel. He 
adorned the gospel of God his Saviour by 
a holy walk and chaste conversation — 
living soberly, righteously, and godly 
amidst a crooked and perverse genera- 
tion. Though he could not have regarded 
himself as having attained perfection, 



SER. III.] SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF GAIUS. 61 

yet, like the apostle Paul, who, "for- 
getting those things that are behind, and 
reaching forth unto those things that 
are before, he pressed toward the mark 
for the prize of the high calling of God 
in Christ Jesus." 

The bright and shining example set 
before the world by this Christian, 
afforded grounds of rejoicing to the apos- 
tle John. " / rejoiced greatly" says lie, 
" wlien the brethren came and testified of 
the truth that is in thee, even as thou 
walkest in the truth" While it is always 
a source of pleasure to a gospel minister 
to witness the general health and tem- 
poral prosperity of his fellow-Christians, 
yet does it afford him more exquisite joy, 
when they give a good testimony to the 
truth, by their walking as it becomes the 
gospel. As there can scarcely be a 
greater obstacle in the way of sinners 
duly considering the claims of Chris- 
tianity, than the loose and irregular lives 
of those who professedly say : " Lord, Lord, 

6* 



62 SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF GAIUS. [SER. III. 

and do not the things" that he says ; so, 
on the other hand, there is nothing better 
calculated, perhaps, to stop the mouths of 
gainsayers, to fasten conviction upon the 
mind of the ungodly, than the consistent 
conduct of religious professors. They are 
then as a city set on a hill that cannot be 
hid — they evince to all around that reli- 
gion is a divine reality, and not a cun- 
ningly devised fable. 

In the character of Gaius, we see one 
who used the world as not abusing it. 
He was blessed with all the necessary 
comforts and conveniences of life, and 
very probably upon the whole, was in a 
very prosperous condition as it regards 
temporal matters ; as we may learn from 
his repeated acts of kindness " to brethren 
and strangers." There were many to 
" bear witness before the church," of this 
praiseworthy trait in his character. His 
prosperity in the things of this life did 
not, however, prove to him a curse. He 
did not suffer the things of this world to 



SER. III.] SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF GAIUS. 68 

cheat him out of his soul. He passed 
through things temporal, so as riot to lose 
those things that are eternal. He labored 
"not only for the meat that perisheth, 
but for that also which endureth to ever- 
lasting life." His soul prospered. The 
seed of divine truth sown in his heart, 
sprung up and brought forth the fruit of 
good living to the honor and glory of 
God. He prospered not only with regard 
to his present gracious state, but also with 
regard to his future prospects. He was 
laying up "treasures in heaven where 
neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and 
where thieves do not break through nor 
steal." Truly prosperous, indeed ! A 
prosperity which nothing on earth can 
destroy. We may pass along here for 
awhile in the enjoyment of excellent 
health of body, but the blighting hand 
of sickness sooner or later will pros- 
trate the most vigorous constitution. We 
come up like a flower, fair and beautiful, 
opening and expanding the faculties by 



64 SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF GAIUS. [SER. III. 

degrees ; but we are soon cut down by the 
scythe of some ruthless distemper, or nipt 
and withered by the frost of some wasting 
weakness and decay. We may prosper 
here in the riches of the world, but if 
they do not take to themselves wings 
and flee away from us, how soon are 
we hurried away from them into the 
eternal world by the irresistible arm 
of death ?. But what can destroy the 
prosperity of the soul ? Can sickness ? 
No. Can death? St. Paul triumphantly 
answers— No. " For I am persuaded" 
says he, " that neither death, nor life, nor 
angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor 
things present, nor things to come, nor 
height, nor depth, nor any other creature, 
shall he able to separate us from the love of 
God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" 
Blessed, yea, thrice blessed is the man 
whose soul prospers. 

But how few comparatively are in this 
happy condition. You will all agree with 
1 Rom. viii., 38-39. 



SER. III.] SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF GAIUS. 65 

me in saying that their souls do not pros- 
per, who are in a state of nature, unre- 
newed, unsanctified by the influences of 
the Holy Spirit. For you are aware that 
it is written upon the inspired pages that, 
Ci the wrath of Ood abideth upon therm" 
They are represented therein, as wan- 
derers upon dark and barren mountains 
without a shelter and perishing with 
hunger. Though by some strange infatua- 
tion, they may imagine themselves "rich, 
increased in goods and have need of 
nothing" they are nevertheless " wretched, 
and miserable, and poor, and Mind and 
naked." 

Nor can it be said of backsliders that 
their souls prosper. They may be likened 
to a " tree whose fruit withereth." " The 
latter end is worse with them than the begin- 
ning. For it had been better for them not 
to have known the loay of righteousness, 
than, after they have known it, to turn 
from the holy commandment delivered unto 
them. But it has happened unto them 



66 SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF GAIUS. [SER. III. 

according to the true proverb, The dog is 
turned to his own vomit again; and the sow 
that ivas ivashed to her loallowing in the 
mire." 1 Nor can it be said of the luke- 
warm Christian , that his soul prospers. 
He is self-condemned. The language of 
his agonizing heart is : — 

" Where is the blessedness I knew 

When first I saw the Lord ? 
Where is the soul-refreshing view 

Of Jesus and his word ? 
What peaceful hours I then enjoy'd, 

How sweet their rnem'ry still ! 
But now I feel an aching void 

The world can never fill." 

The luke-warm professor is thus ad- 
dressed by the great Head of the church : 
" / would thou ivert cold or hot, because 
thou art luke-warm, and neither cold or hot, 
I will spue thee out of my mouth." 2 

The man of whose soul prosperity can 
be truly affirmed, has been created anew 

i 2d Pet. ii. ; 21-22. 2 Eev. iii„ 15-16. 



SER. III. J SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OF GAIUS. 67 

in Christ Jesus. He advances in the 
divine life, and abounds in every good 
word and work. He is deeply concerned 
not only for his own personal salvation, 
but also for the present and eternal well- 
being of his fellow-travellers to eternity. 
Hence he is found striving to the utmost 
of his ability to advance the cause of 
Christ among his fellowmen. He is eyes 
to the blind, feet to the lame, a messenger 
of peace and consolation to the distressed, 
whether of mind, body or estate. 

We should above all things, my beloved 
brethren, see to it that our souls prosper. 
It is very proper that we should pray 
both for health of body and prosperity in 
our daily avocations. It becomes us also 
to be diligent in the use of all lawful 
means in order to obtain them. God, 
however, in his wise and inscrutable pro- 
vidence, may not see fit to crown our 
efforts in this respect with desired suc- 
cess. But in regard to the spiritual 
prosperity of the soul, he never fails to 



68 SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OP GAIUS. [SER. III. 

crown persevering diligence with success. 
Whoever humbly yields to the life-giving 
and fructifying influences of that Holy 
Spirit which is to abide with the church 
forever, is sure to thrive and prosper, 
"like a tree planted by the water side." 
Upon the soul the Creator has stamped 
his seal of immortality — it is destined 
to run parallel with his own uncreated 
existence. When our globe shall be dis- 
solved, and all that are therein shall be 
burned up, the soul, more refined and 
dignified, shall survive the dissolution of 
matter, and shall either flourish in im- 
mortal youth and beauty on the healthful 
plains of Paradise, or endure an inde- 
scribable burden of anguish in the doleful 
regions of endless woe. How invaluable 
then is the soul, and how solemnly press- 
ing are its claims upon our most serious 
regard. Consider what the great Eternal 
has done to promote its everlasting health 
and vigor. He himself came down from 
heaven, veiled his unutterable glories in 



SER. III.J SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OP GAIUS. 69 

humanity, proclaimed his own everlasting 
gospel, led a suffering life, died an igno- 
minious death, rose again from the grave, 
" ascended up on high, led captivity captive, 
and gave gifts unto men. He gave some 
apostles, and some prophets, and some evan- 
gelists, and some pastoi*s and teachers' — 
" For the perfecting of the saints, for the 
work of the ministry, for the edifying of 
the body of Christ',' 1 " the Head, from 
which all the body by joints and bands 
having nourishment ministered, and knit 
together, increaseth with the increase of 
God." 2 Now, who among us in this view, 
does not perceive something of the incal- 
culable value of the soul ? For infinite 
wisdom does nothing unnecessary. And 
seeing that he has been at a vast expense 
of means in behalf of our souls, it shows 
the awfulness of the peril to which they 
are exposed. It. accounts for that solemn 
and thrilling question propounded by 
himself:—" What shall a man give in 

1 Epli. iv. ; 12. 2 Col. ii., 19. 

7 



70 SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY OV GAIUS. [SER. III. 

exchange for Ms soul?" Nothing can be 
compared to it in value. Lose that, and 
you lose your all. I beseech you there- 
fore to attend earnestly to its high con- 
cerns. Beware of unbelief, pride, preju- 
dice, envy and malice. These are the 
briers that render the soul barren, and 
prevent the word of divine truth from 
being so ingrafted into the heart as to 
bring forth fruit to the honor and glory 
of God. Seek diligently the influences 
of that Spirit who alone can cause the 
native desert of the heart to bud and 
blossom as the rose ; and having the 
heavenly graces implanted therein by 
his own right hand, and abounding in 
the same when this painful life shall 
end, you may look forward in hope of 
being conveyed to that bright world 
where the soul no longer clogged in her 
devotional exercises by frail humanity, 
shall expand and grow more and more 
like God through everlasting ages. 



r ] 
1.3 



SERMON IV. 

MUTUAL FORBEARANCE AND FORGIVENESS. 

" Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, 
if any man have a quarrel against any ; even as 
Christ forgave you, so also do ye."- — Col. iii., 13. 

In this world, where sin has dominion 
over the hearts of the great mass of man- 
kind, and influences in some measure the 
regenerate, there will always be numerous 
occasions that will call for the exercise of 
mutual forbearance, and the spirit of for- 
giveness. Occasions will arise not only 
among the ungodly, but also among 
those who, in the general tenor of their 
lives, are governed by Christian princi- 
ples. To resent injuries, either real or 
supposed, is natural to man. The ob- 
vious design of this characteristic of our 



72 MUTUAL FORBEARANCE [SER. IV. 

nature, is to guard us from real injuries. 
When we suffer it to proceed no further 
than to shield ourselves from real harm, 
it is not, as we conceive, criminal. For 
instance : — A person endeavors to instil 
into the mind of another, principles 
known by him to be dangerous in them- 
selves, and destructive in their conse- 
quences. Now, should a holy indigna- 
tion arise in his mind against such prin- 
ciples, from the view of their injurious 
character, this resentment, so far from 
being criminal, would be just, properly 
directed, and in strict compliance with 
the exhortation of St. James, " Resist the 
devil, and lie will flee from you" 1 When 
resentment is suffered to go so far as to 
injure others merely for the sake of gra- 
tifying this feeling, or as a retaliation for 
some wrong done, or supposed to be done 
to us, then it is highly criminal. In op- 
position to this spirit, we are exhorted in 

1 James iv'. ; 7. 



SER. IV.] AND FORGIVENESS. 73 

the text to cultivate the temper and 
spirit of mutual forbearance and forgive- 
ness. " Forbearing one another and forgiv- 
ing one another, if any man have a quarrel 
against any, even as Christ forgave you, so 
also do ye" 

This exhortation, you perceive, is ad- 
dressed to professing Christians. It sup- 
poses that the spirit of resentment may be 
carried to a criminal extent even among 
them, thus giving occasion among them- 
selves for the exercise of the conciliatory 
temper recommended in the text. 

To injure a person, is unlawfully to 
take or withhold from him that to which 
he has a just claim. To deprive one of 
life, liberty, or his personal or real estate, 
which he has not forfeited by crime, is 
the grossest violation of this principle. 
No one, we presume, can consistently 
bear the Christian's name, who is guilty 
in either of these respects. But there 
are other respects in which we may injure 

7* 



74 ' MUTUAL FORBEARANCE [SER. IV. 

our neighbor, without depriving him of 
either his life, liberty or property. We 
may injure him by rash and precipitate 
judging, by indulging uncharitable thoughts, 
and by evil speaking. 

1. Rash and precipitate judging. 

Perhaps nothing is more common than 
for men to form an unfavorable opinion 
of their neighbor upon the slightest 
acquaintance ; yet, this is equally inju- 
rious as it is unjust. To pronounce 
unfavorably upon the general character 
of a person from some single fault we 
may discover, or think we discover, is 
certainly injuring him, inasmuch as it is 
withholding from him that esteem, which 
his other good qualities justly demand, 
even suppose him to be faulty in other 
respects. For who is there without fault? 
Perhaps there are few men so bad, but 
that may possess some good traits of 
character. Lest we should be misun- 
derstood here, it may be necessary to 



SER. IV.] AND FORGIVENESS. 75 

observe, that, in speaking of the good 
traits in the character of a bad man, all 
that we mean is, that they are good in 
their effects ; not that they are positively 
good in their nature and regarded so in 
the sight of God. No action of an 
accountable being can be intrinsically 
good, good in the sight of our Maker, 
that does not proceed from a proper 
motive, a due sense of our obligations to 
Him. The high and holy principle that 
should govern us in our actions is thus 
stated by the great apostle to the Gen- 
tiles : — " Whether, therefore, ye eat or 
drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the 
glory of God." l The same apostle, show- 
ing how indispensable it is that we should 
have a constant regard to this holy prin- 
ciple, also says : — "Though I bestow all my 
goods to feed the poor, and though I give my 
body to be burned, and have not charity, it 
profiteth me nothing." 2 The loth Article 

»1 Cor. x. ; 31. ■ 2 2 Cor. xiii., 3. 



76 MUTUAL FORBEARANCE [SER. IV. 

of our church is in perfect accordance 
with this statement of St. Paul. " Works 
done before the grace of Christ, and the 
inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant 
to God, forasmuch as they spring not 
of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they 
make men meet to receive grace, or (as the 
school authors say,) deserve grace of con- 
gruity : yea, rather, for that they are not 
done as God has willed and commanded 
them to be done, we doubt not but they 
have the nature of sin." So, in this view, 
nothing done by an impenitent man can be 
really good. In another point of view he 
may, however, do something that may be 
called good, from the good effects result- 
ing therefrom. A liberal contribution, 
for instance, may be cheerfully given to 
some educational institution, or for reli- 
gious purposes. This may be the means 
of promoting the present and eternal 
happiness of thousands of our race. An 
unregenerate person may do this, and 
other kindred acts, and in view of their 



SER. IV.] AND FORGIVENESS. 77 

beneficial effects, they may in a qualified 
sense, be denominated good. The point 
however to which we would arrive, is 
this : — If unregenerate men may have 
some commendable traits in their charac- 
ter, how much more ground is there to 
regard those in a favorable light, who are 
in some good degree, renewed by the 
Spirit ? So, for Christians to pronounce 
unfavorably upon the general character 
of their brethren, simply on the ground 
of some fault they may discover, or think 
they discover, is to injure them seriously. 
It is to withhold from them that affec- 
tionate regard which their other good 
qualities justly demand. Persons who 
are given to this uncharitable turn, 
require but little evidence; indeed, what 
they require, is undeserving the name of 
evidence; all they require, in order to 
bring their minds to a decision upon the 
general character of their neighbor, is 
only to see, or think they see, in him 
some slight deviation from their precon- 



78 MUTUAL FORBEARANCE [SER. IV. 

ceived notions of propriety. Should his 
peculiar manner, or mode of address not 
happen to be in strict accordance with 
their ideas of refinement, immediately, 
an unfavorable inference is drawn with 
regard to his taste. Should an opinion 
be expressed on a certain subject, though 
that opinion should not be the result of 
much deliberation, but expressed at the 
impulse of the moment, no allowance 
whatever is made for this ; a broad 
inference is at once made, utterly preju- 
dicial to the whole character. Again, 
should a professor of religion, in an 
unguarded hour, manifest undue warmth 
of feeling, why, he is denounced at once 
as a hypocrite, utterly destitute of every 
spark of vital piety. Such imperfections 
as these, give a sufficient warrant to the 
uncharitable, to cast a shade over the 
whole character. How common is this 
spirit of rash and precipitate judging 
of others exhibited, not only among the 
ungodly,, but among the professed fol- 



SER. IV.] AND FORGIVENESS. 79 

lowers of Christ. But what is more 
unequitable and unjust? How far is this 
from complying with that golden rule : — 
" Whatsoever ye would that men should do 
to you, do ye even so to them" l 

Furthermore, this rash and precipitate 
judging, leads, 

2. To the indulging of unkind, cold 
and bitter feelings. Our feelings in every 
instance, are regulated by our belief. To 
this general statement, I reckon there 
can be found no exception. In all cases, 
our feelings correspond with our belief. 
Hence a child, believing the testimony of 
others, concerning the venomous nature 
of a viper, indulges a secret antipathy 
towards it, though he may never have 
seen anything more of the reptile than its 
picture. It is needless to enumerate in- 
stances to illustrate so plain a principle of 
our nature. It must be admitted by all 
who will reflect for a moment, that as we 

1 Matt. vii., 12. 



80 MUTUAL FORBEARANCE [SER. IV. 

believe, so do we feel and act. Here we 
are disposed to digress a little, in order 
to make a useful reflection. We 'would 
observe, that Christianity is in strict 
accordance with the laws of our nature. 
Are we so constituted, that we feel and 
act as we believe ? See then how Chris- 
tianity is adapted to this law of our 
moral nature, attaching as it does, so 
much importance to faith in God. 
u Without faith it is impossible to please Him, 
for he that cometh to God, must believe that 
He is, and that He is a reivarder of them that 
diligently seek Him" 1 " Therefore, being 
justified by faith, we have peace with God, 
through our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 As 
faith, or belief, produces corresponding 
feelings or actions in temporal matters, 
so has it the same effect in spiritual 
things. And how clearly does the wis- 
dom and goodness of God shine forth in 
this view of the Christian system. His 
wisdom, in appointing faith as airinstru- 
1 Hebrews, xi. ; 6. 2 Rom. v., 1. 



SER. IV.] AND FORGIVENESS. % 81 

ment in our salvation, it being from its 
active nature, every way calculated to 
produce the desired effect, viz., obedience. 
His goodness is seen in adapting his 
saving plan to the constitution of our 
nature, thus rendering our salvation 
attainable in perfect harmony with the 
law of our moral being. But to return 
to the inference that we were about to 
make. As we feel and act as we believe, 
so, when a rash and precipitate judgment 
is formed, with regard to the general 
character of our brother, we, as a natural 
consequence, feel and act towards him 
accordingly ; unless we be deceitful — 
uttering smooth words with the lips, 
while there is war in the heart. Do we 
believe him to be a time-serving, popu- 
larity seeking creature, unstable, driven 
and tossed about by every wind, no mat- 
ter from what point it blows ? Now, if 
we have come to this conclusion concern- 
ing his character, and have any just 
views of what is praiseworthy in man, it 



82 -MUTUAL FORBEARANCE [SER. IV. 

is impossible to esteem, or to place any 
confidence in such an one. If we have, 
from some cause, been led to regard a 
professor of religion as a hypocrite, and 
have just views of what is becoming the 
Christian, so far from cherishing in our 
bosom, sentiments of esteem for his cha- 
racter, we w T ill behold him in all his 
religious performances with pain and 
disgust. We mention these instances, 
as specimens of unkind feelings following 
in the train of unfavorable opinions 
formed of our fellow-men. Having 
arrived at an unfavorable decision with 
regard to the character of our brother, 
and unkind and bitter feelings being now 
generated in the heart, the next step is 
to proceed. 

3. To evil speaking. — This naturally fol- 
lows. When unkind feelings are indulged 
towards any of our brethren, it will soon 
be made manifest by unkind words. 
" Oat of the abundance of the heart" says 



SER. IV.] AND FORGIVENESS. 83 

our Lord, " the mouth speaketli." 1 The 
faults uncharitably conceived of our 
neighbor, are now ungenerously exposed; 
exposed, too, while he has no opportunity 
of explaining, or of defending himself, for 
it is now done in his absence. These faults 
are exposed, not to secure themselves 
from injury, but to injure their neighbor, 
to lower the esteem that others may 
have towards him, and thus gratify that 
malignant spirit which is far below the 
Christian character. The tongue now is 
set in operation, • and when that is the 
case, soon a great fire is kindled from 
a little matter. The tale-bearer now has 
his legitimate work to do. He listens 
attentively, occasionally smiles, with his 
ears wide open as he smiles, and when 
he gets as much as he can conveniently 
carry, he shoulders his burden, away he 
goes and lodges it at his neighbor's door. 
By adding a little, and saying with a sig- 
nificant nod, — I would not take it if I 
1 Matt, xii., 34. 



84 MUTUAL FORBEARANCE [SER. IV. 

were you, lie succeeds in kindling a blaze. 
Families, neighbors, and intimate com- 
panions, are now at variance, indulging 
the spirit of revenge, hatred and malice, 
for, they can scarcely tell what. And 
were the true cause ascertained, it 
would in most instances be found to 
have originated from a wrong judgment 
rashly formed ; from some word inad- 
vertently spoken, or some action in the 
performance of which, there was no evil 
design whatever. Now, it is in these 
ways that we may injure, and be injured 
by others ; and our duty as Christians, 
is, on all occasions to be ready to exer- 
cise the spirit of mutual forbearance and 
forgiveness. "Forbearing one another, and 
forgiving one another, if any man have a 
quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave 
you, so also do ye." 

We proceed to a few considerations 
that should induce us to cultivate this 
spirit. 



SER. IV.] AND FORGIVENESS. 85 

1. We should recollect how apt we 
are to be mistaken in our judgment of 
the general character of a person even 
after a patient observation, much more 
so upon a slight and single circumstance. 
Joseph was reared under the same roof 
with his brothers; they, therefore, had 
a fair opportunity to investigate his 
character ; jet, see how grossly mistaken 
they were respecting it. Because he 
related to them his remarkable dream, 
that "the sun, moon, and stars, made 
obeisance to him" they regarded him as 
an ambitious youth, who desired to 
exalt himself over them. To arrive at 
a correct decision at all times with 
regard to the character of our neighbor, 
requires more knowledge than God has 
granted to man. Are we fully acquainted 
with the constitutional make of any indi- 
vidual ? Do we know his peculiar turn 
of thinking? Can we dive down into 
the depth of his soul, and see the first 
moving spring of action, and pronounce 

8* 



86 MUTUAL FORBEARANCE [SER. IV. 

with infallible certainty with respect to 
its moral character? Do we know the 
precise effect that early impressions have 
had upon his mind, and exactly to what 
extent allowance is to be made on this 
score ? Our profound ignorance in all 
these particulars, shows how apt we are 
to be mistaken in our notions of the true 
character of our neighbor, and should 
lead us in no case to judge rashly. And 
should we, after a cool, patient, and 
impartial investigation, be compelled to 
decide unfavorably, we should even then, 
pass a decision with extreme diffidence — 
with that " charity that believeth all things, 
hopeth all things." In many instances, no 
doubt, where the uncharitable has cast a 
shade of reproach, could he see the whole 
man as he is seen by his supreme Judge ; 
shame would cover his face, to find that 
the very person he thought so little of, 
was at the very same time far above him 
in moral excellence. 



SER. IV.] AND FORGIVENESS, 87 

2. As we are apt to be mistaken In 
our judgment with regard to the general 
character of persons, so are we equally so 
with regard to their evil intentions. An 
offence is taken from something that has 
been said or done to us. Now what has 
been said or done, may not have been 
the result of either ill-will or malice. It 
may have been the result of a wrong 
judgment they had hastily formed, or 
from some excited state of mind they 
may have been led to say, or act as they 
did. Such considerations should have a 
tendency to cool our resentment, espe- 
cially when we reflect that we are 
equally liable to be influenced in the 
same way. And besides, they may have 
seriously considered their conduct, and 
have mourned and wept bitterly in secret 
on account of it. 

Another reason why Christians should 
cultivate a forgiving spirit, is — ■ 

3. God's forgiving mercy towards them. 



88 MUTUAL FORBEARANCE [SER. IV. 

All of us have offended our Creator, by 
violating his law in thought, word and 
deed, ten thousand times. We have of- 
fended him under circumstances the most 
aggravated, against light and knowledge, 
amidst all the loud calls of his providence, 
his word, the strivings of his Spirit, and 
the clamors of conscience. We have 
thus rendered ourselves obnoxious to his 
wrath and sore displeasure ; but upon 
repentance, he manifested to you his 
forgiving mercy. When he saw you 
writing bitter things against yourselves, 
mourning in sackcloth and ashes, he ap- 
pointed unto you the oil of joy for 
mourning, and the garment of praise for 
the spirit of heaviness. And shall we 
who have been forgiven, and daily stand 
in • need of forgiveness, not be ready to 
forgive others ? If the eternal God act 
in the same way, what will become of 
us ? Remember the words of our blessed 
Lord : — " If ye forgive not men their tres- 
passes, neither will your Father forgive 



SER. IV.] AND FORGIVENESS. 89 

your trespasses" 1 As we desire forgiveness 
at the hands of our heavenly Father, let 
us see to it that we cultivate the spirit of 
forgiveness towards our brethren. 

How are we to forgive ? 

To this, the apostle answers in the lat- 
ter clause of the text, " As Christ forgave 
you, so also do ye." 

How does he forgive? 

1. He forgives universally. His lan- 
guage is — " Thy sins which are many, are 
forgiven" 2 We should imitate Christ in 
this respect. We should make no re- 
serves, but forgive all and every one of 
our brother's offences against us. 

2. Christ sincerely forgives ;■ — He never 
upbraids us for those sins he once forgives. 
He blots out the hand-writing against us. 
He remembers our sins against us no 
more. There is a pretended forgiveness 
that falls from the lips only, without 

1 Matt. vi., 15. * Luke vi i <; 47^ 48o 



90 MUTUAL FORBEARANCE [SER. IV. 

flowing from the heart. You may have 
frequently heard persons profess to for- 
give in terms like the following. I par- 
don him for what he has done to me ; I 
only wish the poor creature may be able 
to forgive himself. I leave him to God 
and his own conscience. Now this disco- 
vers a want of sincerity, and shows an 
inward bitterness of spirit, utterly at 
variance with a forgiving temper. This 
is not the w r ay that Christ forgives : — He 
forgives sincerely. " Let this mind be in 
you which was also in Christ Jesus.'" 

How amiable and benign is the spirit 
of Christianity ! Like its divine author? 
its high mission is to promote true peace, 
good order and happiness among men. In 
what a glorious state would be our world, 
were it entirely under its holy influence. 
Earth then, would be but the counterpart 
of heaven. If all cultivated the spirit of 
forbearance and forgiveness, where there 
is now strife, contentions, animosities and 
revenge, the angel of peace, with his 



SER. IV.] AND FORGIVENESS. 91 

celestial train of meekness, gentleness, 
brotherly kindness and charity, would 
reign predominant in every bosom. But 
alas ! how little of this spirit is found 
among men ; how little even among the 
professed followers of Christ. What a 
readiness to put the worst construction 
upon the actions of the brethren. How 
prevalent is whispering, tale-bearing, and 
evil-speaking. What a satanic-like plea- 
sure there is taken in circulating the tale 
of slander to the great injury of our 
neighbor. 

My brethren, these things ought not so 
to be. You are called to the cultivation of 
an opposite temper, by the most endear- 
ing considerations. As children of one 
family you reverently bow down at the 
same table, partake of the same bread, 
drink of the same cup, and profess to be 
travelling to the same eternal home. In 
that blissful place, you expect to unite 
with all the redeemed of the Lord, in the 
same song : — " Unto him that loved us and 



92 MUTUAL FORBEARANCE. [SER. IV. 

washed us from our sins in his own blood, 
and hath made us kings and 'priests unto 
God and his Father, to Him be glory and 
dominion forever and ever" 1 How rea- 
sonable therefore is it that you should 
cherish for each other on your journey 
thitherward, the same feelings of bro- 
therly kindness. " Forbearing one ano- 
ther, and forgiving one another, if any 
man have a quarrel against arty, even as 
Christ forgave you, so also do ye" 

1 Rev. i. ; 5. 



SERMON V . . 

THE SIN" OF GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT. 

" AND GRIEVE NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD." Eph. iv. 30. 

Grief, as well as all other affections of 
the human heart which we find applied 
in the Scriptures to the Spirit of God, 
must necessarily be understood in a meta- 
phorical sense. It especially refers to his 
mode of acting towards those who resist 
his influences, reject his kind offers, and 
not to any inward feeling which the term 
implies when it relates to finite man. 
With the course generally pursued by one 
who from just cause has been grieved at 
the conduct of another, we are perfectly 
familiar. Between this course and the 
conduct of the Spirit towards man in cer- 
tain cases a comparison is here instituted. 

9 



94 THE SIN OF GRIEVING [SER. V. 

When an earthly friend and benefactor 
becomes grieved in consequence of receiv- 
ing from his beneficiary insults in return 
for the many favors bestowed, he with- 
draws all intimacy and friendship from 
such an one, until the barriers that stand 
in the way of a reconciliation are entirely 
removed. Now, the Holy Spirit is the 
Almighty Friend and liberal Benefactor 
of our fallen and degenerate race. But 
man too often requites his surpassing 
kindness and benevolence by acting in a 
way that causes the blessed Spirit to 
withdraw his enlightening and renovating 
influences, leaving him in his own native 
blindness and ignorance, to pursue the 
" way that seemeth right" unto him, though 
the " ways thereof" be the " ivays of death." 
We are therefore to understand the text 
as containing a solemn admonition against 
every thing that would hinder the success 
of this divine agent in his gracious and 
renewing operations upon the soul. 

The Spirit of God, the third person in 



SER. V.] THE HOLY SPIRIT. 95 

the ever-adorable Trinity, is called c lioly] 
because of the infinite holiness of his 
character, and of the work of holiness 
which he begins and carries on in the 
hearts of his people. All the moral attri- 
butes; justice, goodness and truth, are 
possessed by him in common with the 
Father and the Son, in unbounded per- 
fection. In the economy of redenrption, 
the Holy Spirit is the grand agent whose 
office is to establish these principles of 
holiness in the souls of men. In order to 
this, " he spake by the prophets," inspired 
the apostles from whose sacred writings 
we may obtain right conceptions of the 
character of God, and of his will concern- 
ing us. He is still present in his church, 
to own and bless his word, and the ordi- 
nances of his house to the spiritual edifi- 
cation of all who yield to his gracious 
dictates. His success, however, is far from 
being universal. Though we have every 
reason to believe from the infinitude of 
his benevolence, that there is not a human 



96 THE SIN OF GRIEVING [SER. V. 

being on earth at the door of whose heart 
he has not repeatedly knocked for en- 
trance ; yet we find only here and there 
a few, comparatively, who have cordially 
submitted to the empire of his grace. 
The generality of men oppose him at 
every avenue through which he is wont 
to gain the ascendancy in the soul, and 
thus cause him, so to speak, to turn away 
grieved at the obduracy and impenitency 
of their hearts. I am sure that I now 
speak the experience of many of our 
hearers. In order that you may through 
the divine blessing be brought to a due 
sense of the awful guilt you are incurring, 
and of the danger to which you are thus 
exposing yourselves, we shall endeavor to 
point out some of the ways in which men 
' grieve the Holy Spirit of God! 
This is done, 



1. By inconsideration. The want of 
calm, sober thought, is one of the greatest 
hinderances to a sinner's conversion to God. 



SER. V.] THE HOLY SPIRIT. 97 

The thunders of Sinai may roll, and tell 
him of those eternal calamities that await 
the ungodly beyond the grave ; the sweet 
notes of redeeming love poured forth from 
an angel's voice will all be in vain, so 
long as the adversary of souls can contrive 
to keep him from a train of regular, sober 
thinking. The great Jehovah thus com- 
plained of his ancient people. "/ have 
nourished and brought up children, and 
they have rebelled against me. The ox 
Jcnoiveth his owner, and the ass his master's 
crib: but Israel doth not know my people 
doth not consider." 1 The same complaint 
may be justly entered now. Against 
every impenitent soul here in divine pre- 
sence, the Holy Spirit may justly urge 
the want of due consideration, as the 
great reason why his holy influences have 
not hitherto had their designed effect in 
each case. God has made our salvation 
to depend upon a cordial and hearty be- 
lief of the truth as it is in Jesus. " With 

a Isa. i.,2 ; 3. 
9* 



98 THE SIN OF GRIEVING [SER. V. 

the heart man believeth unto righteousness , ." 1 
But we cannot thus believe the truth, unless 
we understand, or realize it in its personal 
application : nor can we thus understand 
it when presented to our minds unless we 
bestow upon it due thought and reflection. 
Thus you perceive how the thoughtless 
sinner defeats, if we may so speak, the 
purposes of divine grace. When the 
Holy Spirit presents to the impenitent 
mind divine truth, when he shows him 
his own character, his depraved and sinful 
state and the awful consequences that 
will inevitably follow, when he discovers 
unto him the character of God, his holi- 
ness, justice and truth, instead of his 
dwelling upon these truths in serious, 
sober and penitential thought, they are 
excluded from the mind to make room 
for subjects of a frivolous nature. So, the 
Heavenly Visitor is thus grieved and 
insulted at the cold repulse: — " go thy 

1 Eora. x., 10. 



SER. V.] THE HOLY SPIRIT. 99 

ioay for this time ; when I have a convenient 
season I will call for thee" 1 
The Holy Spirit is grieved, 

2. By unholy conversation. The cha- 
racter of our minds give in general a 
direction to the train of our conversation. 
Hence we may form a very good judg- 
ment of the cast of our mind if we strictly 
observe the character of the conversation 
in which we take the greatest delight. 
" Out of the abundance of the heart" says 
our Lord, " the mouth speaheth." 2 Of the 
wicked it is said that, " God is not in cdl 
his thoughts." 3 Now so long as the incon- 
siderate man continues so, and will not 
with divine assistance use the power that 
he has to bring his mind back from its 
wanderings and lead it in the path of 
serious, sober thinking, we cannot expect 
him to delight in such a conversation of 
which the Holy Spirit would approve. 
His thoughts run in a channel, that is 

1 Acts xsiv., 25. 2 Matt, xii., 34. 3 Psa. x. ; 4. 



100 THE SIN OF GRIEVING [SER. V. 

"earthly, sensual and devilish." The 
conversation in which he delights, must 
consequently partake of the same cha- 
racter. How then can the Holy Spirit 
be otherwise than grieved to behold the 
tongues of men so much employed about 
temporal subjects, as totally to exclude 
those that are spiritual and eternal; — 
those subjects which excite the most 
adoring wonder and rapturous songs of 
joy among the redeemed in glory. But 
upon this point, we need not confine our 
remarks exclusively to the impenitent 
part of our hearers. Professing Christians 
are far from being faultless here. Indeed, 
the apostle Paul in giving the admonition 
contained in the text, evidently had his 
Christian brethren at Ephesus chiefly in 
view. In the words that immediately 
precede the text, he addressed them 
thus: — " Let no corrupt communication 
proceed out of your mouth, hut that which 
is good, to the use of edifying, that it may 
minister grace to the hearers." The text 



SER. V.] THE HOLY SPIRIT. 101 

then follows. — " And grieve not the Holy 
Sj)irit of God" „ . 

The rule laid down in this connexion 
whereby Christians may avoid grieving 
the Spirit, is to attend to the preceding 
caution. But alas ! how seldom is this 
rule attended to by professing Christians 
in their intercourse with each other. 
They may not violate the first part of 
the rule. Their conversation may not 
be of that character as to deserve to be 
styled, "corrupt communication" But do 
they not often violate the second part ? 
When they meet together, is the commu- 
nication that proceeds out of their mouth 
good to the use of edifying? Is there no 
foolish talking and jesting which are not 
convenient ? Is there no unkind and 
unnecessary exposures made of the real 
or supposed faults of neighbors ? Is there 
no backbiting, no evil-speaking and slan- 
dering ? Happy for the cause of religion 
were it so. But the reverse is too often 
the case. Instead of adhering to the 



102 THE SIN OF GRIEVING [SER. V. 

direction of the Apostle, aiming to edify 
those present, there is too often a dispo- 
sition shown to inflict an injury upon the 
absent. And seeing this is the case, it is 
no wonder that we behold so many dwarfs 
in Christianity. It is no wonder that 
some run well for a season the Christian 
race, grow weary, turn back and bring a 
reproach upon the cause. You need 
wonder no longer, inconsistent professor, 
why you have no comfortable sense of 
God's love, no delight in the sanctuary, 
no relish for meditating on God's law, 
and attending on the ordinances of his 
house. You have grieved the Spirit of 
grace, and caused him to withdraw from 
you his comforting influences. When you 
have learned to " speak good of the name 
of the Lord, to be talking of his worship, 
glory, praise and wondrous works ; to be 
telling of his loving kindness early in the 
morning, and of his truth in the night 
season ;" then, may you expect him to 
lift upon you the light of his countenance, 



SER. V.] 1HE HOLY SPIRIT. 103 

and to bless you with light, life and vigor. 
On the contrary, if other matters of a 
vain, foolish and reprehensible character, 
are permitted to be themes to expatiate 
upon in your social intercourse; depend 
upon it a leanness will come over your 
souls ; you will become like Samson shorn 
of his strength, weak as other men : your 
enemies will put out your eyes, leaving 
you to grope your way in the darkness of 
spiritual death. Again, the Spirit of God 
is grieved — 

3. By sinful tempers and affections. 
In the verse that •immediately follows the 
text, St. Paul thus exhorts his brethren : 
c iLet all bitterness and wrath, and anger 
and clamor, c£nd evil-speaking, he put away 
from you with all malice" It is much to 
be lamented that these evil affections 
prevail too much among professing Chris- 
tians in the present day. From the 
slightest provocation received from hu- 
man frailty, some will rave and toss 



104 THE SIN OF GRIEVING [SER. V. 

themselves like an ox unaccustomed to 
the yoke. They consider it too much 
to be borne : and very often they dwell 
upon these little matters until the poison 
of the adder is found under their lips. 
Then the very name of their supposed 
adversary cannot be mentioned without 
eliciting the serpent hiss. And by in- 
dulging this revengeful spirit for a time, 
it finally settles down in malice, a rooted 
enmity, which makes a man more like 
Lucifer than any other sin this side of 
perdition. And can the Holy Spirit dwell 
in a bosom that is indulging affections 
like these ? No, never. He can look with 
delight only upon his own 'fruit] which 
u is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentle- 
ness, goodness, faith, meekness,- temperance." 1 
Sinful tempers and affections are the 
works of the devil. These works, the 
Spirit of God in all his merciful and 
gracious visits to man, aims to destroy. 
Resolve then, my Christian friends, in 
» Gal. v., 22. 



SER. V.] THE HOLY SPIRIT. 105 

the strength of divine grace, to resist and 
overcome these enemies to your peace. 
Christianity designs us to be of an excel- 
lent spirit ; to be transformed by the 
renewing of our minds : to be " peaceable, 
gentle, easy to he entreated, full of mercy 
and good fruits." 1 By exhibiting an oppo- 
site spirit we dishonor the cause of Christ, 
and consequently grieve the Spirit whose 
grand object is to advance it throughout 
the earth. We have mentioned several 
instances in which we may grieve the 
Spirit; but we may add in a general way 
that he is grieved by every species of sin, 
whether it consists in doing the things 
we ought not to do, or in leaving undone 
those things which we ought to do. We 
are all therefore guilty in this matter, 
and have need daily to pray : il God, 
make clean our hearts within us; And 
take not thy Holy Spirit from us." 

We shall endeavor now by a few con- 
siderations. 

1 James iii. ; 17. 
10 



106 THE SIN OP GRIEVING [SER. V. 

Second, To urge the admonition con- 
tained in the text. 

1. Consider the great dignity of the 
Personage slighted. In the violation of the 
rules of civility among men, the degree 
of criminality is determined by the cha- 
racter of the persons. Hence the same 
act that would be termed simply an 
insult from one man towards his equal in 
station, would be called a great indignity 
towards his superior, say his Governor. 
This arises from the inequality of position 
that subsists between the parties. Now if 
the degree of guilt contracted by grieving 
the Spirit, is determined by his superior 
dignity, where shall we find a term that 
can give us an adequate idea of the 
crime ? The Spirit of God fills immen- 
sity. And where is the mind that can, 
in its grandest and loftiest conceptions, 
fully comprehend this great truth ? Such 
knowledge is too high, too wonderful, it 
cannot be attained. This the enraptured 



SER. V.] THE HOLY SrJRIT. 107 

psalmist confessed, when, in the sublimest 
language he exclaimed : — w Whither shall 
I go from thy Spirit ? or whither shall I 
flee from thy presence ? If I ascend up 
into heaven, thou art there; if I make my 
bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I 
take the toings of the morning, and dwell in 
the uttermost parts of the sea, even there 
shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand 
shall hold me." 1 This uncreated, eternal, 
omnipotent, and omnipresent Being, man, 
dying man, whose breath is in his nos- 
trils, can dare to insult ! What horrid 
impiety ! Consider, 

2. His patience with you, notwith- 
standing your repeated provocations. 
When an earthly friend considers himself 
to be insulted, he generally stands off in 
cold indifference towards you, until some 
due acknowledgment be made ; and 
even then his friendship is very apt to be 
mixed with a little bitterness. But the 

1 Psa. cxxxix., 7, 8 ; 9. 



108 THE SIN OF GRIEVING [SER. V. 

Spirit of God, though repeatedly grieved, 
as often returns. He comes unasked, 
and stands at the door, and knocks long 
and loud, entreating us to open the door, 
that he may come in and sup with us, 
and we with him. Oh ! how aggravated 
the guilt that must be contracted by a 
continued opposition to such stupendous 
love as this. But remember that God has 
said : — " My Spirit shall not always strive 
with man." 1 There is an " accepted time, 
a day of salvation" 2 in which we may 
seek and find mercy at the hand of God 
through Christ. That time, however, and 
that day may pass, when the things that 
belong to our peace may be forever hid 
from our eyes. By a long and continued 
series of opposition to the Spirit's in- 
fluences, the mind may at last become so 
hardened in unbelief, so unsusceptible of 
any permanent religious impression, by 
the ordinary means of grace, (and we 
have no right to expect any other means) 
1 Gen. vi. ; 3. 2 2 Cor. vi., 2. 



SER. V.J THE HOLY SPIRIT. 109 

as to cause the Holy Dove to take its 
everlasting flight. Forty years was he 
grieved at the disobedience of ancient Is- 
rael, and said — " They do alway err in 
their hearts, and they have not known my 
ways. So I sivare in my wrath, they shall 
not enter into my rest." 1 Take warning, 
then, my brethren, from this example, 
lest you fall under the same awful con- 
demnation. That you have repeatedly 
opposed the friendly counsels, warnings 
and entreaties of the Spirit, you cannot 
deny. He has often called you to par- 
take of the waters of life, and you have 
as often refused to hear; he has stretched 
out his hand to deliver you from the 
snares of the devil, but you have disre- 
garded his kind intervention. Still he 
waits to be gracious unto you, notwith- 
standing your past ingratitude and innu- 
merable provocations. Though, your sins 
be as scarlet, He is ready and willing to 
make them as white as snow. Let his 

1 Hebrews, iii., 10, 11. 
10* 



110 GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT. [SER. V. 

long-suffering, goodness, and love, lead 
you to that repentance that needeth not 
be repented of again. Prostrate as you 
should be at the footstool of mercy, while 
you are acknowledging your repeated 
insults to the heavenly visitor, let your 
sincere, fervent and persevering prayer 
ascend to the Lord, whose ear is ever 
attentive ; and let its burden be — 

" Stay, thou insulted Spirit, stay, 

Though I have done thee such despite ; 
Nor cast the sinner quite away, 

Nor take thine everlasting flight. 
Though I have most unfaithful been, 

And long in vain thy grace received ) 
Ten thousand times thy goodness seen, 

Ten thousand times thy goodness grieved ; 
Yet, oh ! the mourning sinner spare, 

In honor of my great High-Priest. 
Nor in thy righteous anger swear, 

T'exclude me from thy people's rest. 
My soul lies humbled in the dust, 
And owns thy dreadful sentence just; 
Look down, Lord, with pitying eye 
And save the soul condemn' d to die." 



SERMON V.I. 

THE FORBEARANCE AND RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE 

OF GOD. 

" The lord is slow to anger, and great in power, 

AND WILL NOT AT ALL ACQUIT THE WICKED." Nahum. i. 3. 

In our attempts to worship the God of 
heaven, it is highly important that we 
entertain, as far as possible, just concep- 
tions of the divine character; lest, while 
we profess to worship Him with our lips, 
we at the same time, be open to the 
rebuke : " Ye luorsliip^ ye hnow not ivJiat" 
We are summoned to the house of prayer 
at this time, under circumstances of 
unusual interest. It has been recom- 
mended by the Chief Magistrate, that 
this day be devoted by the people 
throughout the country to prayer and 
fasting. And perhaps, there is no view 



112 THE FORBEARANCE AND [SER. VI. 

of the character of God more proper for 
the mind to be duly impressed with on 
an occasion like the present, than the 
one contained in the text — his forbearing 
mercy, in connexion with his power and 
justice. 

That Jehovah, whose perfections are un- 
limited, should at any time, in the smallest 
degree imaginable, be agitated, or dis- 
turbed by any inward emotion like mortal 
man, is impossible. Passion is an attri- 
bute that belongs exclusively to imperfect 
beings, who require some moving principle 
to excite them to action. But no such 
necessity can be supposed to exist in the 
great I AM, without involving the most 
blasphemous absurdity. Hence, those 
portions of scripture that ascribe anger, 
wrath, jealousy, or any other passion, to 
the Deity, are always to be understood 
in a figurative, not in a literal sense. In 
every case, it refers to his mode of pro- 
ceeding, or acting, and not to any inward 
emotion. As men, when provoked to 



SER. VI.] RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE OE GOD 113 

anger, generally take steps to avenge 
themselves upon their enemies, so, when 
God executes the sentence of His right- 
eous laws upon the rebels against His 
government, He is said to be avenged, 
not that He, like man, takes a malignant 
pleasure in the destruction of His enemies, 
but He is said to be avenged, because in 
such a case, His mode of procedure 
resembles the steps that men take when 
they are under the influence of anger. 
With these preliminary remarks, we 
shall enter upon the consideration of the 
several propositions contained in the text 
in the order in which they are presented. 

First :— " The Lord is slow to anger." 
That is, He is slow to execute punish- 
ment upon the transgressors of His law. 
We have a striking illustration of the 
truth of this proposition. 

1. In the case of our fore-parents. 
That eventful period, when they per- 



114 THE FORBEARANCE AND [SER. VI. 

petrated the crime that brought death 
into the world and all our woe, in that 
very hour. Jehovah could in justice have 
banished them from the happy bowers of 
Paradise, and consigned them to the 
region of eternal misery and despair. It 
was thus He dealt with Lucifer and his 
rebellious crew. " And the angels which 
kept not their first estate, hut left their own 
habitation, lie hath reserved in everlasting 
chains, under darkness, unto the judgment 
of the great day'' 1 But instead of dealing 
thus with our fallen progenitors, he 
granted them a day of grace — he gave 
them a firm ground of hope in that 
cheering and comprehensive promise : 
" I will put enmity between thee and the 
woman, and between thy seed and her seed ; 
it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt 
bruise his heel!' 2 That they had sufficient 
time granted to avail themselves, as we 
believe they did, of that gracious pro- 
mise, is clear, from Adam's protracted 
1 Jude 6. 2 Gen. iii. ; 15. 



SER. VI.] RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD. 115 

term of life, which was extended beyond 
the limit of nine hundred years. The 
same penitence, faith and obedience, that 
marked the character of Abel, when he 
offered " a more excellent sacrifice than 
Cain," were without doubt, equally prom- 
inent in our fore-parents, when " God 
made coats of skins and clothed them." 
It is not without good reason supposed, 
that this clothing was the skins of beasts 
slain in sacrifice by divine appoint- 
ment, as typical of the one great sacrifice 
of Christ, who, in the fulness of time, 
" gave himself a ransom for all." 

2. Another illustration of the truth that 
God is slow to anger, we have in the 
case of the Antediluvians. They had 
not only multiplied greatly in point of 
numbers, but their sins and iniquities 
also had increased to an alarming extent. 
" The wickedness of man was great in the 
earthy every imagination of the thoughts of 



116 THE FORBEARANCE AND [SER. VI. 

his heart was only evil continually." 1 
Being thus corrupt at the very fountain, 
it followed as a natural consequence, that 
" the earth was filled with violence through 
them." 2 But what was the conduct of 
God towards that guilty people ? He 
mercifully warned them of the awful 
consequence of their overgrown wicked- 
ness by his servant Noah, who was " a 
preacher of righteousness" to that devoted 
people. He strove with them by his 
Holy Spirit. He bore with their bad 
manners ; he waited for their reforma- 
tion for the space of one hundred and 
twenty years, before he performed " his 
act j his strange act" 

3. The same slowness to anger marked 
the conduct of God towards his chosen 
people Israel. They were under his 
special guidance, government and protec- 
tion : they were favored above all other 
nations with the means of religious in- 

1 Gen. vi., 5. 2 Gen. vi., 13. 



SER. VI.] RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD. 117 

struction, temporal security and prospe- 
rity. They were " nourished and brought 
up as children." When they groaned 
under the Egyptian yoke, God delivered 
them with a high hand and with an out- 
stretched arm. When they travelled 
through the dry and barren desert where 
no water was, he caused streams to flow 
from the flinty rock to refresh their faint- 
ing spirits. He rained down manna from 
heaven to relieve them from the pains of 
hunger. But notwithstanding they en- 
joyed such distinguished privileges and 
blessings at the hand of God, they were 
far from bringing forth those fruits of 
purity and good living which might have 
been reasonably expected. There were, 
it is true, some honorable exceptions ; 
but the general character given them in 
the holy scriptures, is that of " a rebel- 
lious and stiff-necked people," — they were 
bent on backsliding — ever ready to depart 
from their Almighty Sovereign and Friend, 
and to conform to the abominable prac- 

11 



118 THE FORBEARANCE AND [SER. VI. 

tices and customs of the surrounding 
heathen. But did He speedily give them 
up to work out their own destruction with 
greediness ? No. He bore with them for 
upwards of fifteen hundred years after 
he had delivered them out of the land of 
Egypt and out of the house of bondage. 
Moreover, when they had well nigh filled 
up the cup of their iniquity in rejecting 
the only Savior of sinful man, still, the 
Lord forbore to visit them according to 
the demerit of their crimes. The axe it 
is true, was lying at the root of the tree ; 
but he did not speedily issue forth the 
order, — cut it down — its day of salvation 
was protracted a little longer. Accord- 
ingly, the blessed Savior, after his resur- 
rection from the dead, in commissioning 
his Apostles to spread the glad tidings of 
mercy universally, instructed them, espe- 
cially, to begin at Jerusalem — to give the 
first offer of salvation to them who had 
crucified the Lord of life and glory. 
Thus the history of that peculiar people 



SEE VI.] EETEIBUTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD. 119 

clearly illustrates the truth that the Lord 
is slow to anger. 

Again. The character of the Gentiles, 
contrasted with God's - conduct towards 
them, is a further confirmation of the 
first proposition of the text. A very 
startling, but graphic picture of their 
wretchedly depraved character is drawn 
by the Apostle Paul in the opening 
of his masterly epistle to the Romans. 
" Being filled" says he, " with all unright- 
eousness >, fornication, wickedness, covetous- 
ness, maliciousness ; full of envy, murder, 
debate, deceit, malignity ; whisperers, back- 
biters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, 
boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient 
to parents, iviihout understanding ; covenant 
breakers, without natural affection, impla- 
cable, unmerciful : who knowing the judg- 
ment of God, that they which commit such 
things are worthy of death, not only do the 
same, but have pleasure in them that do 
them" 1 Here then, we have the moral 

^om.j., 29, 32. 



120 THE FORBEARANCE AND [SER. VI. 

portraiture of the Gentiles, as it presented 
itself to the mind of the inspired Apostle. 
Yet we find that they were not swept off 
the face of the earth as with a besom of 
destruction. The same Apostle says, — 
u And the times of this ignorance God 
winked at" 1 i. e. He bore with them in 
mercy, in order to give them a clear and 
explicit call to repentance. But we need 
not confine your attention to facts of 
ancient date, since we have a sufficient 
illustration of the truth under considera- 
tion, in our own day and time. See, how 
the Lord's day is profaned ; -the day conse- 
crated to holiness and God is devoted by 
multitudes, young and old, to idleness, 
frivolity and sinful pleasures. How many 
acts of inhumanity, cruelty, oppression, 
high-handed robbery, murder, treachery, 
and lewdness, are every day practised 
amidst the blaze of moral and religious 
light. These things are of so frequent 
occurrence, that they almost cease to 
1 Acts xvii. ; 30. 



SER. VI.] RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD. 121 

affect us. See the multiplied groggeries, 
gambling cellars and dens of infamy 
which are thronged, not only by the old 
and hardened in crime, but thronged by 
the young men of our city, whose down- 
ward course is blasting the best hopes of 
their parents and friends. Oh ! were it 
possible for us to take a panoramic view 
of all the abominations committed here 
during the space of twenty-four hours 
onlv, we should be overwhelmed at the 
sight : we should be ready to regard our- 
selves as dwelling among incarnate demons 
instead of human, intelligent, and moral 
beings. Horror-stricken at the sight, we 
would tremble under the most agonizing 
apprehensions, lest the earth would not 
long sustain such a mass of guilt, pollution 
and crime. Now, we should bear in 
mind, that the Supreme Ruler of the 
Universe, surveys with one comprehen- 
sive glance, not only all the crimes of a 
single nation, but of the world at large. 
He has a clear and distinct view of every 

11* 



122 THE FORBEARANCE AND [SER. VI. 

species of wickedness that is now, or ever 
has been committed. Yet we behold his 
sun rising upon the just, and upon the 
unjust, we have the regular return of the 
seasons : " He gives us ram from heaven and 
fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food 
and gladness." Why is this ? Since the 
wickedness of man is still great in the 
earth, why do we not see the vials of 
unmitigated wrath, poured out upon its 
guilty inhabitants? Why do we not 
see the heavens gathering blackness and 
the red thunderbolt hurled down in 
flaming vengeance ? To these inquiries 
unassisted reason can give no satisfactory 
answers. To see virtue, humanity, truth 
and justice lying prostrate upon the earth, 
while vice, cruelty and gross injustice 
receive honor and support, would be to us 
an incomprehensible mystery, were it not 
for the revelation of the truth contained 
in the text, that, the Lord is slow to anger. 
This truth will receive further confirma- 
tion from its application to our own indi- 



SER. VI.] RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD. 123 

vidual cases. There is not one among 
us arriven to years of maturity, who upon 
a review of his life can fail to see the 
clearest evidences in his own case of the 
truth contained in the first part of our 
text. Let conscience speak, and she will 
w^hisper in the ears of some thus. You 
are now well-stricken in years ; you were 
born in a Christian land ; you have heard 
the sound of salvation ten thousand times, 
but alas ! you cannot find in all your 
life one single day truly devoted to the 
service of that God in whom you live, 
move, and have your being, and who has 
made every provision for your present 
and everlasting happiness. To another 
she would say, in the spring-tide of life 
you sought the Lord and found him to the 
joy and satisfaction of your soul; but 
suffering yourself to be drawn aside by 
your giddy companions, and through the 
deceitfulness of your own heart, you be- 
came entangled again in the yoke of 
bondage ; you crucified afresh the Lord of 



124 THE FORBEARANCE AND fSER. VI. 



glory ; put him to open shame ; and now, 
you are ten-fold more the child of Satan 
than before. To us all she would bring 
home the charge, of having too often 
" done the things which we ought not to 
have done, and" of having "left undone 
those things which we ought to have 
done." But notwithstanding this, our 
lots are still among the living and not 
with the dead. So far from having any 
visible marks of divine vengeance upon 
us, we are still prisoners of hope, within 
the reach of mercy, having the privilege 
of partaking of the blessings of pardon, 
peace and holiness in this world, as pre- 
paratory for the enjoyment of eternal 
happiness in the world to come. Breth- 
ren, we all stand this day living witnesses 
that the Lord is slow to anger. 

Second. This attribute of God is no 
evidence of his want of ability to execute 
upon transgressors the sentence of his vio- 
lated law, for the prophet further adds that 

He is 'great in power? Men may be 



iSER. VI.] RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD. 125 

sometimes slow in effecting their purposes, 
because they are unable to accomplish 
their ends with despatch. No such ina- 
bility belongs to Jehovah. What can 
stay his hand, who, " in the beginning 
created the heaven- and the earth — who 
spake and it was done ; who commanded, 
and it stood fast." Indeed, his slowness 
to anger, or long-forbearance, is perhaps, 
the greatest proof of his power that we 
can have any conception of. In contem- 
plating the magnitude, the number and 
velocity of the planets, we are justly 
struck with amazement at the great 
power that upholds and sustains them. 
But what comparison can there be between 
the power that is put forth in the mate- 
rial system, and that which is manifested 
in his long-forbearance towards sinners. 
The former is power over matter, the 
latter is power over his own uncreated 
Being. The exhibition of monstrosity in 
wickedness, arouses at once the indigna- 
tion of men, and nothing but the want of 



12G THE FORBEARANCE AND [SER. VI. 

authority and power prevent them in such 
cases, from visiting it with summary 
punishment. But this is an evidence of 
our weakness. God "is of purer eyes 
than to behold iniquity— Heaven is im- 
pure in his sight." Yet he is cognizant 
of the great mass of human crime, but 
strikes not. His own inflexible justice 
and truth call for vengeance against the 
transgressors; but his long-forbearance, 
holds back the bolt. Here lies the "thun- 
der of his power' 1 which is beyond human 
comprehension. 

Again, nor does his slowness to anger 
afford any security to the finally impeni- 
tent ; for it is farther added that 

He "will not at all acquit the wicked." 
Though he bear long w x ith sinners, yet 
retributive justice will overtake them at 
last. The fate of several nations as well 
as individuals may be adduced as illus- 
trative of this. The ante-diluvians, the, 
Sodomites, the Egyptians, the Ninevites, 



SER. VI.] RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE OF- GOD. 127 

the Jews, all stand upon the historian's 
page, as indisputable evidences of the 
truth that He will not at all acquit the 
finally impenitent. Now, as nations can 
exist as such in this world only, and as 
God is unchangeably the same, when 
they become involved in national guilt, 
nothing but a timely repentance can 
avert a national punishment. Avarice, 
pride and ambition might be expatiated 
upon as sins of which this nation stands 
guilty before God; but the great master 
sin of the nation is, that of sanctioning 
that system of outrage, which allows man 
to hold property in his fellow-man, the 
system, that blots out the moral image 
traced upon the soul by the hand of God, 
and writes thereupon — ' it is a thing! It 
requires no labored attempt to show that 
the nation is verily guilty in this matter. 
In whatever department we look, whe- 
ther legislative, literary, civil or religious, 
we find in the general spirit and conduct 
of each, a determined opposition to the 



128 THE FORBEARANCE AND [SER. VI. 

universal rights of man. And what 
marks do we observe of true repentance ? 
Is there a general concern upon the sub- 
ject? Are the people awakened to a 
sense of their awful guilt? Are they 
bringing forth fruit meet for repentance ? 
Are they like Zaccheus restoring four-fold 
to their wronged neighbors? Far from 
it, far from it. The great absorbing theme 
dwelt upon from one end of the country 
to the other is gain. The obligation " to 
do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly 
with God" is not taken into the account. 
Here a general apathy prevails. It is 
certainly a very imposing sight to behold 
an entire people, as at this day, present- 
ing themselves before God in the attitude 
of humble suppliants. Prayer and fasting 
are some of the signs of penitence, and 
when accompanied with the other marks, 
viz., the forsaking of evil, and the prac- 
tising of good works, they are well- 
pleasing to God; otherwise they are of 
no avail. When the Ninevites under a 



SER. VI.] RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD. 129 

dread of God's judgments clothed them- 
selves in sack-cloth, and cried mightily to 
God, it is said ; that, " God saw their 
works, that they turned from their evil way ; 
and God repented of the evil that he had said 
that he ivould do unto them, and he did it 
not." 1 But what does the Lord say to his 
people when they had given up themselves 
to unrighteousness, and still offered to 
Him a formal worship. u To what pur- 
pose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto 
me ? saith the Lord : When ye come to 
appear before me, who hath required this at 
your hand to tread my courts ? Bring no 
more vain oblations : incense is an abomina- 
tion unto me ; the new moons and sabbaths, 
the calling of assemblies, I cannot away 
with : it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 
And when ye spread forth your hands I will 
hide mine eyes from you ; yea, when ye 
make many prayers I will not hear" and 
the reason he assigns is : u your hands are 
full of blood" Hence the exhortation; 

1 Jonah iii., 10. 
12 % 



130 THE FORBEARANCE AND [SER. VI. 

" Wash you, make you clean ; put away the 
evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; 
cease to do evil, learn to do well, seek judg- 
ment; relieve the oppressed ; judge the 
fatherless; plead for the widow." 1 The 
point upon which their happiness or 
misery depended is thus stated. " If ye 
be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good 
of the land. Bui if ye refuse and rebel, ye 
shall be devoured by the sivord : for the 
mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." 2 This 
threatening was signally executed upon 
the Jewish nation in the terrible slaughter 
which took place when their proud city 
was besieged by the Roman army under 
Titus. And it awfully exemplified the 
inspired declaration : u Righteousness ex- 
alteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any 
people"* With regard to the impenitent, 
as individuals, though in this world they 
find by experience that " the ivay of trans- 
gressors is hard :" yet the full measure of 

1 Isa. i., 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 

£ Isa. i., 19, 20. 3 Prov. xiv., 34- 



SER. VI.] RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD. 131 

their punishment will not be meted out to 
them until the final judgment. Then God 
u will render to every man according to his 
deeds." 1 u Unto tliem that are contentious and 
do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteous- 
ness ; indignation and wrath, tribulation 
and anguish upon every soul of man that 
doeth evil." 2 Be awakened then, my 
impenitent hearers, to a sense of your 
danger. Let God's patience with you 
lead to a timely repentance. This is the 
gracious design Heaven has in view, in 
bearing with your bad manners from day 
to day and from year to year. He is 
slow to anger under all your provocations, 
in order that you may be suitably affected, 
and so be led to repentance and salvation. 
Abuse not his mercy by hardening your 
hearts and stiffening your necks. Think 
not that because sentence against an evil 
work is not executed speedily, you will 
therefore escape punishment. The arm 

Rom. ii., 6. Rom. ii. ; 8. 



132 THE FORBEARANCE, AC. [SER. VI. 

of Divine Justice may be long delaj^ed, 
yet it will fall at last upon your guilty 
head with accumulated vengeance. And 
who can endure the idea of falling into 
the prunitive hands of Him who is omni- 
potent in power ! May you avert this, 
by a timely repentance, by an unreserved 
dedication of yourselves to His service. 
Then, his power, justice and mercy will 
combine to ensure your present and ever- 
lasting happiness. 



SERMON VII. 

PRICE IN HAND OF THE FOOLISH TO GET 
WISDOM. 

" Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to 
get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it ?" 

Prov. xvii. 16. 

Wisdom is a gem of inestimable value. 
Nothing so strongly marks the superiority 
of one class of men above another, than 
their pre-eminence in wisdom. For the 
various arts of civilized life, the innu- 
merable comforts and conveniences we 
enjoy, to which the native children of 
the forest are entire strangers; we are 
indebted to the operations of superior 
wisdom. It guides the mariner across 
the pathless waste of waters, and leads 
him back over mountain billows safe to 

12* 



134 PRICE IN HAND OF THE [SER. VII. 

his own kindred and home laden with 
the riches of foreign climes. It scours 
the surface of our globe, investigates the 
numerous vegetables of the verdant king- 
dom ; marks their genera, their species, 
their different properties, their agencies, 
especially in arresting the ravages of dis- 
ease to which man is liable in this state 
of discipline and trial. It penetrates the 
bowels of the earth and explores the won- 
ders and riches of the mineral kingdom. 
It mounts up to heaven ; up, at a dizzy 
height, and there observes the circuitous 
pathway of the planets, and with its vast 
line measures them as they roll along in 
the wide expanse. The order and regu- 
larity that obtain among men flow from 
this source. We sometimes see different 
nations involved in angry disputes, and 
led to the very point of bringing about all 
the horrors of a desolating war. Fortu- 
nately, however, superior wisdom in due 
season rises up in her majesty and makes 
her voice heard above the " sound of many 



SER. VII.] FOOLISH TO GET WISDOM. 135 

waters "—the tumultuous murmurs of the 
people are at once hushed : and the hos- 
tile spirit with its menacing array of the 
weapons of death, gives place to the 
pleasing spectacle of harmony, fraternity, 
peace, and their ever-attendant blessings. 
In this limited view of wisdom's opera- 
tions, all are ready to acknowledge its 
paramount value and excellency. But 
the Holy Scriptures speak of, and the 
text alludes to, a wisdom of a much 
higher order still. 

Job, in a figurative style common among 
the orientals, inquires where man's highest 
wisdom is to be found : and having searched 
in vain through every department of na- 
ture, he at length arrived at the true and 
only fountain. u But where shall wisdom 
he found ? and where is the place of under- 
standing ? Man knoiveth not the price thereof; 
neither is it found in the land of the living. 
The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea 
saithy It is not in me. It cannot he gotten 



136 PRICE IN HAND OF THE [SER. VII. 

for gold, neither shall silver he weighed for 
the price thereof. It cannot he valued loith 
the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, 
or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal 
cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall 
not he for jewels of fine gold. No mention 
shall he made of coral, or of pearls : for the 
price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz 
of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall 
it he valued with pure gold. Whence then 
cometh wisdom ? and where is the place of 
finder standing ? Seeing it is hid from the 
eyes of all living, and kept close from the 
fowls of the air. Destruction and death 
say, We have heard the fame thereof with 
our ears. Qod under standeth the way there- 
of, and he knoweth the place thereof For 
he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth 
under the whole heaven. To make the iceight 
for the winds ; and he weigheth the waters 
by measure. When he made a decree for 
the rain, and a way for the lightning of the 
thunder. Then did he see it, and declare 
it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out. 



SER. VII.] FOOLISH TO GET WISDOM. 137 

And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of 
the Lord, that is wisdom ; and to depart 
from evil is understanding." 1 Thus we 
perceive that the revelation God made 
to man in the beginning, in which con- 
sists his highest wisdom, is, " the fear of 
the Lord." 

There is a servile dread of God, arising 
from a sense of guilt and the awful desert 
of sin, which sometimes so harasses the 
impenitent, as to cause them to agonize 
under awful forebodings of coming wrath. 
But the principle referred to in the text, 
is a holy, reverential fear of offending 
the Divine Majesty, and a tender concern 
to please him in all our w r alks and ways. 
It includes the whole of practical obedi- 
ence to the commands of God. Good 
old " Noah moved with" this holy " fear" 
when in prompt obedience to the com- 
mand of his Maker, he " prepared an ark 
to the saving of his house." 2 This holy 

1 Job xxviii., 12-28. s Heb. xi., 7. 



138 PRICE IN HAND OF THE [SER. VII. 

principle can never spring from unre- 
newed nature. It is, " the wisdom that is 
from above" and, " is first pure, then peace- 
able, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of 
mercy and good fruits, without partiality, 
and without hypocrisy T l 

Whoever takes the hand of this 
heavenly guide, and follows her direc- 
tions, shall pass safely through the 
perilous voyage of life, laden, not with 
corruptible treasures ; but, w r ith the 
riches of Christ and his gospel, and 
arrive at home, home to heaven, where 
they shall unite with kindred spirits in 
celebrating the praises of God and the 
Lamb forever and ever. This wisdom, 
in her ethereal flights, stops not among 
the rolling orbs of the planetary world. 
She mounts up infinitely higher. Her 
native place is in the palace of the King 
of Saints and angels. Thither she 
ascends, and unfolds to the eye of faith, 
the glorious reward of righteousness : — 
1 Jam. iii., 17. 



SER. VII.] FOOLISH TO GET WISDOM. 139 

heavenly mansions — everlasting joys — 
" the crown of righteousness, ivhich the Lord, 
the righteous judge, shall give at that day, 
unto all them that love his appearing" 1 

To be destitute of this heavenly wis- 
dom, and unconcerned about obtaining 
it, however wise we may be as it respects 
things that pertain to this life, we are in 
the eye of God's Word, regarded as 
"fools? This is indeed, a mortifying 
epithet, but let us see whether it be not 
very properly applied to all those who 
" have not the fear of God before their eyes? 
If idleness, if a neglect to improve the 
proper season to labor, if a want of fore- 
thought to lay up provision for future 
necessities, be marks of folly in a tem- 
poral sense ; then, the man who has the 
great work of his personal salvation 
before him, and spends all his time in 
matters of minor importance ; who 
neglects, in " the accepted time" to pro- 
* 2d Tim. iv. ; 8. 



140 PRICE IN HAND OP THE [SER. VII. 

vide himself with that robe of righteous- 
ness, in which he " may appear pure and 
blameless at the coming of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ;" he, who thus acts, 
may very properly regard himself as 
being superlatively foolish. 

What a numerous multitude among 
our fellow-men show themselves to be 
deserving of this opprobrious epithet. 
There is not a city, town, or village, but 
what is crowded with them. Thev make 
up the great mass of mankind. Hence, 
the world may be compared to a bedlam. 
The number of our fellow-creatures 
deserving to bear this epithet being so 
vast, it will not be a matter of wonder, 
if a goodly number be found enclosed 
within these sacred walls. We cannot 
be fairly charged with a want of charity 
in thinking, that a little honest and sober 
reflection on the part of some of our 
hearers, would constrain them to class 
themselves with the number. There is 
such a thing as partial insanity. A 



SER. VII.] FOOLISH TO GET WISDOM. 141 

crazy man may converse quite rationally 
upon certain topics ; but, so soon as you 
approach some particular subject, he 
reasons no longer. Thus it is with man. 
Place before him his temporal interests, 
and he acts like a reasonable being. 
Bend his mind upon the various sciences, 
and the deep researches of his reasoning 
powers, demonstrate his near relation to 
superior beings. But lay before him the 
all-important subject of religion, and 
immediately you perceive the change. 
However eminent he may be as a 
scholar, a statesman, a philosopher ; 
however wise and prudent he may be 
in his affairs as a farmer, mechanic or 
merchant, with regard to ' the one tiling 
needful] he gives little, or no signs of 
reason. Some are totally unconcerned 
about the things that belong to their 
present and everlasting peace. Others 
have a feeble sense of the importance of 
this subject, but put off the due con- 
sideration of it to a more convenient 

13 



142 PRICE IN HAND OE THE [SER. VII. 

season. Another class, with more ener- 
getic folly than the former, make the 
attempt to serve both God and Mammon 
— to give half the heart to the Lord, the 
other half to the world. Others again, 
merely put on the garb of religion, the 
form of godliness, while they are destitute 
of its life and power. In this way, the 
great majority of mankind are acting as 
it relates to their spiritual and eternal 
welfare. Man thus suffers his precious 
moments to pass away unimproved, till, 
alas ! in an hour when he thinks not 
death comes : " he giveth up the ghost, and 
where is he f' 1 Is this a rational mode of 
acting ? What would be thought of any 
set of persons who acted thus, when they 
had some great temporal interest ,at 
stake, in danger of losing all their pro- 
perty by fire ? If the most of them were 
seen to be totally unconcerned ; others 
putting off their exertions to save their 
effects, to a more convenient season ; 
1 Job xiv., 10. 



SER. VII.] FOOLISH TO GET WISDOM. 143 

others using one hand to secure their all ; 
and others merely putting on the appear- 
ance of concern ; would they not be 
regarded as insane persons ? But how 
much more foolish do they appear, who 
act thus, in relation to their present and 
eternal welfare. A man may lose his 
earthly goods, but in the course of time, 
by industry, frugality and economy, he 
may succeed in accumulating an equiva- 
lent to all his losses. But when the soul 
is lost, all is lost — the joys of heaven 
once lost, are lost forever — the soul that 
descends to the dismal regions of despair, 
shall never be cheered by the glad sound 
of salvation. How egregious then, is the 
folly of ungodly men ! If their folly was 
unavoidable, they would be excusable. 
For no one can be fairly blamed for 
unavoidable ignorance. But this is not 
the case. For their folly, they alone are 
to blame. 



144 PRICE IN HAND OF THE [SER. VII. 

The text says — 

" Theee is a price in the hand of a 
fool to get wisdom." 

By this we are to understand, that the 
means to obtain wisdom, through the 
benevolence of God, are placed in our 
hands. We have reason, conscience, the 
holy scriptures, the ordinances of God's 
house, the preaching of the gospel, the 
aids of the Holy Spirit, liberty of access 
to God through Christ, by prayer and 
supplication ; we have pious parents, re- 
lations, friends, or good books to assist 
us. Here then is a price, a talent, or 
rather, talents of inestimable value placed 
into our hands to obtain wisdom; and 
by persevering in the right use of these 
means, we cannot fail to attain it. St. 
James says, — " If any of you lack wisdom, 
let him ask of God, that giveth to all men 
liberally, and wpbraideth not ; and it shall 
be given him. But let him ask in faith, no- 
thing wavering. For he that wavereth is 



SER. VII.] FOOLISH TO GET WISDOM. 145 

like a wave of the sea driven with the wind 
and tossed. For let not that man think 
that he shall receive anything of the Lord" 1 
But with all these advantages in their 
hands to become wise unto salvation, it 
is a melancholy fact, that too many of 
our race remain foolish notwithstanding. 
The ungodly are wont to frame many 
excuses for their folly in continuing in 
their wretched state. They are all so 
frivolous in their character, that it is 
needless to detail. But whatever excuses 
they may frame to account for their not 
being truly wise, in the text, the grand 
reason is declared to be, that they have 
"no heart to it." " Wherefore is there a 
price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, 
seeing he hath no heart to it ?" That is, he 
has no sincere desire to obtain it. He 
will not be at the pains of considering 
long upon its nature, hence its transcend- 
ant excellencies are hid from his view. 

James i., 5 ; 7. 
13* 



146 PRICE IN HAND OF THE [SER. VIT. 

And seeing no beauty in it, he has no 
ardent desires after it. His desires are 
strong for the perishable objects of time 
and sense. He can ardently exclaim : — 
" What shall ive eat? or What shall we 
drink? or Wherewithal shall toe be 
clothed?" 1 " But none saith, "where is God 
my maker, who giveth so?igs in the night. m 
Since ungodly men, with all the facili- 
ties kind Providence has given them to 
be wise, continue wretchedly foolish not- 
withstanding, the wise man enquires, — 
Wherefore is it that they have these ad- 
vantages? The question implies, that 
these means of wisdom are unworthily 
placed, — that they are of no essential 
benefit to the possessor. Hence, he says, 
Wherefore is this ? u Wherefore is there a 
price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, 
seeing he hath no heart to it?" 

We may answer, that this price is 
given — 

1 Matt, vi., 31. 2 Job xxxv., 10. 



SER. VII.] FOOLISH TO GET WISDOM. 147 

1st. As a clear demonstration of the 
proposition, that God taketh " no pleasure 
in the death of the wicked, hut that the 
wicked turn from his way and live" 1 u I 
exhort" says St. Paul, u that supplications, 
prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks 
he made for all men. For this is good and 
acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 
ivho will have all men to he saved and to 
come to the knowledge of the truth" 2 " God 
so loved, the world" said our Saviour, " that 
he gave his only hegotten Son, that ivhosoever 
helieveth in him should not perish, hut have 
everlasting life" 3 As a confirmation of the 
glorious truths here announced, God has 
graciously placed into the hand of every 
man ample means, which if rightly used, 
will compass his present and everlasting 
happiness. So the great Father of us all, 
may utter now the same vehement com- 
plaint of every ungodly impenitent sinner, 
as he did with regard to the base ingrati- 

1 Ezek. xxxiii., 11. 2 1 Tim. ii. , 13, 4. 3 John iii., 16. 



148 PRICE IN HAND OF THE [SER. VII. 

tude of his people of old — " What could 
have been done more to my vineyard, that I 
have not done in it?" 1 Furthermore, the 
"price" is placed into the hand of every 
man. 

2d. That in the great day of account 
the finally impenitent shall not be able to 
show any reason why the sentence of 
condemnation should not be passed upon 
them for their neglect of improving it. 
In the parable of the talents the servant 
who had one, offered as an excuse for 
not improving it, his knowledge of the 
severity of his Lord ; "reaping where" he 
had "not sown, and gathering where" he 
had "not strazved" 2 But he thus con- 
demned himself. And his Lord showed 
him, that the very excuse he offered, 
was a more urgent reason why he should 
have improved the talent intrusted to his 
charge. Hence he was struck dumb : 
stripped of every extenuating plea — forced 

1 Isaiah v., 4. 3 Matt, xxv , 26. 



SER. VII.] FOOLISH TO GET WISDOM. 149 

tacitly to acknowledge the sentence : — 
" Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer 
darkness;" to be the just demerit of his 
consummate folly. Thus will it be in 
the last great day with all who shall 
be found destitute of heavenly wisdom. 
When all the golden opportunities they 
suffered to pass away unimproved; the 
many glorious privileges neglected ; the 
repeated calls and entreaties of God's 
providence, word and Spirit that have 
been slighted; when all these are brought 
to their remembrance; while the Judge 
is pronouncing the sentence, "Depart ye 
cursed" they will be constrained in inex- 
pressible agony to say, Amen, to their 
own condemnation. And what a bitter 
ingredient will this be in that cup of 
indignation, which shall be their portion 
forever and ever — self-condemnation — 
forever exclaiming, I have destroyed 
myself ! 

See the importance then, my hearers, 



150 . PRICE IN HAND OP THE [SER. VII. 

of duly improving the 'price that God in 
his goodness has placed into your hands 
to get wisdom. You are stewards of the 
manifold grace of God. And the day is 
at hand, when you will be called to stand 
at his dread tribunal, to render a strict 
account of your stewardship. You are 
surrounded with every necessary facility 
to enable you to make your peace with 
God, your calling and election sure. 
Through the providence of God your lot 
has been cast, not amidst the darkness of 
Paganism, superstition and idolatry, but 
in a Christian land, under the moral 
influences of Christian sabbaths, religious 
counsel and example. You have the 
Bible in your hand, that blessed book, 
which is u a lantern unto our feet, and a 
light unto our path" which informs us of 
the great love of our heavenly Father in 
giving his u Son to die for our offences, 
and to be raised again for our justifica- 
tion," and his Holy Spirit to enlighten, 
renew and sanctify our depraved nature. 



SER. VII.] FOOLISH TO GET WISDOM. 151 

Now if you fail to bring forth the fruit 
of righteousness, after having all these 
superior privileges and blessings at hand, 
how tremendous must be the punishment 
that awaits you in the eternal world ! 
How can ye escape wrath to the utter- 
most? 

I beseech you, let not the grace of God 
be granted you in vain. Avoid the doom 
of the wicked and slothful servant. In 
all your getting, get wisdom. Continue 
no longer under the shameful reproach of 
having u no heart to it" Seek after it, for 
it is better than rubies, and all the things 
that may be desired are not to be com- 
pared to it. Seek it diligently and per- 
severingly. For "if thou seekest her as 
silver, and searchest for her as for hid 
treasures, then shalt thou understand the 
fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge 
of God." And what " thy hand findeth 
to do" on this great subject, " do it with 
thy mighty for there is no work, nor device, 
nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave 
whither thou goest" 



SERMON VIII 

THE SHORTNESS AND UNCERTAINTY OF TIME. 

"But this I say brethren, the time is short." 

1 Cor. vii., 29. 

The sentiment contained in the words 
of the text, is one of those solemn truths 
which the mind of man is averse duly to 
contemplate. Some airy phantom, some 
earthly vanity, is always cordially invited 
to a prominent place in his thoughts, 
while this serious truth is banished from 
the mind as an unwelcome guest. The 
promise of enjoying yet many days of 
health, ease and pleasure here, though it 
be a lie conjured up by a corrupt and 
deceitful imagination, is listened to by the 
worldling with delight; while the truth, 
which reason, observation and divine 

14 



154 THE SHORTNESS AND [SER. VIII. 

revelation confirm, is practically rejected. 
But however averse we may be to give 
this subject that due consideration which 
its importance demands, its truthfulness 
nevertheless, remains the same. Our in- 
difference to it cannot alter it. It becomes 
us, therefore, as rational and accountable 
beings, calmly, but seriously to consider, 
how short the time is that w r e have to 
remain upon the stage of action. And 
may the Holy Spirit help us so to con- 
sider it, that we may be led to apply our 
hearts unto heavenly wisdom. 

" The time is short" Compared w T ith 
that eternal duration which is without 
beginning or end; time, in its most ex- 
tended sense, stretching out its line from 
the dawn of creation to the final consum- 
mation of all things, is short. For though 
our planet should continue its diurnal and 
annual revolution a thousand times longer 
than it has already, a period is to arrive, 
when its present career through its ap- 



SER. VIII.] UNCERTAINTY OF TIME. 155 

pointed pathway will be terminated — 
w^hen " it shall wax old as doth a garment, 
and he changed." Bat, eternity, properly 
speaking, has neither beginning nor end. 
There can be no proportion, therefore, 
between the longest duration of time and 
that of eternity. But it becomes us to 
contemplate that portion of time which is 
parcelled out to us as individuals, by the 
Author and giver of life. And how ex- 
ceedingly small is the part allotted us. 
In the Adamic age, the life of man was 
reckoned up by hundreds. Adam, the 
father of the human race, lived nine hun- 
dred and thirty years before he died. 
Seth, his son, lived nine hundred and 
twelve years, and he died. Enos, his 
grand-son, lived nine hundred and five 
years, and he died : and so the catalogue 
proceeds in its statement of the length- 
ened lives of the patriarchs who lived 
before the flood. But in the time of the 
Psalmist David, we find human life to be 
reckoned up not by hundreds as before, 



156 THE SHORTNESS AND [SER. VIII. 

but by scores. " The days of our years," 
says he, " are three-score years and ten, and 
if by reason of strength they be four-score 
years, yet is their strength labour and sor- 
row, for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." 1 
As if years were too large a point by which 
to reckon up the shortness of human life, 
the Scriptures count it by months. " The 
number of his months are with thee." 2 Very 
frequently it is reckoned by days. " Man, 
that is bom of a woman" says Job, "is of 
few days." 3 Nay, it is accounted but one 
day. " Till he shall accomplish as an hire- 
ling his day." 4 The apostle Paul, com- 
pares it to a still shorter period — a mo- 
ment. " Our light affliction" says he, 
"which is but for a moment." 5 So short is 
human life, as if there could not be any 
thing in nature to give a just representa- 
tion of it, the Psalmist says, — " Mine age 
is as nothing before thee." 6 A very slight 

1 Psa. xc, 10. 3 Job xiv. ; 5. 

3 Job xiv., 1. 4 Job xiv., 6. 

5 2 Cor. iv., 17. 6 Psa. xxxix., 5. 



SER. VIII.] UNCERTAINTY OF TIME. 157 

observation will lead us to acknowledge 
the justness of this melancholy view of 
human life. If we look over this congre- 
gation, or any other assembled for a simi- 
lar purpose; if we take a larger survey, 
and view the community in which we 
live, how few comparatively do we see 
whose heads are crowned with the frost 
of seventy winters. We behold only a 
few here and there moving along the 
shore of time, as relics of days gone by; 
and their fewness are as monuments bear- 
ing our text as an inscription, to be read 
and seriously pondered by every beholder. 
The silent but significant language of 
their whitened locks and furrowed cheeks, 
to the present generation, is, " Brethren, 
the time is short." — It is true that we 
have reached our three-score years and 
ten, but this point in human existence, 
the great majority of our race never 
attain. The large circle of those with 
whom we passed the blithesome hours of 
youth, have long since shot the awful 

14* 



158 THE SHORTNESS AND [SER. VIII. 

gulf of a boundless eternity. A few of 
us stand trembling upon the shore, to ad- 
monish you with a silent but impressive 
voice, how vain it is for you to calculate 
upon attaining the days of our lengthened 
years. For long, long before man reaches 
this, he enters the narrow house appointed 
for all living. The most of our fellow 
creatures die like a flower blasted in the 
morning, or at noon, a fact, that shows 
how delusive is the hope of a protracted 
life. Another point worthy of our con- 
sideration is, that tirrte is as uncertain as 
it is short. The present moment is all 
that we can safely calculate upon. The 
future is veiled in the bosom of the great 
Eternal. He only knows whether or not 
any one present shall survive the setting 
sun. We know not what a day may 
bring forth. Neither youth nor superior 
strength is the least security against the 
sudden attack of death. His shafts fly 
so promiscuously, that none can tell who 
will be the next victim. Sudden as 



SER. VIII.] UNCERTAINTY OF TIME. 159 

lightning sometimes his arrows fly, and 
wound and kill in the twinkling of an 
eye. Before another day rolls over our 
heads, for all that we know to the con- 
trary, some one of us may behold that 
veil removed which now hides from our 
view, the grand, but awful scenes of the 
eternal world. 

The short and uncertain tenure of 
human life would be of small moment 
were it not connected with other results 
of the most solemn and overwhelming 
character. God, in his great wisdom and 
goodness saw fit to create different ranks 
and orders of beings, and to place them 
in different localities in his wide domin- 
ions, to answer certain good purposes. 
Upon our earth we behold a variety of 
living creatures, some of which, so far as 
we know, have no relation at all to another 
state of being — all their movements are 
confined within the small circle of time 
here allotted to them. But man is placed 
in circumstances quite different. He, like 



160 THE SHORTNESS AND [SEE. VIII. 

the other creatures, has but a small space 
of time to carry on his operations here, 
but his movements are not confined, like 
theirs, within the little boundary marked 
out to him in this world. No. His do- 
minion over the rest of the creatures, his 
superior skill, his boundless desires, his 
hopes, his fears, all more than intimate 
that he has within him a spirit, destined 
to survive this material system, and that 
his future happiness or misery will depend 
upon the character formed in this state 
of mortality. These solemn and over- 
whelming truths, indicated by the light 
of reason, are set forth in the brightness 
of a sun-beam upon the inspired page. 
We are there told not only that life is 
short, that " it is appointed unto men once 
to die" but we are also told that " after this 
the judgment" 1 — that " God will render to 
every man according to his deeds, — to them 
who by patient continuance in well-doing, 
seek for glory, honor, immortality, eternal 
1 Hebrews, ix. ; 27. 



SER. VIII.] UNCERTAINTY OF TIME. 161 

life" while on the other hand, " unto them 
that are contentious, and do not obey the 
truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation 
and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon 
every soid that doeih evil" 1 These con- 
siderations, brethren, stamp upon our 
time an incalculable value, connected as 
it is with our eternal destinies. We may 
contemplate the shortness of life as an 
abstract truth, somewhat unmoved. But 
it becomes us to consider it as connected 
with its thrilling results — we should ever 
bear in mind that our few days here below 
will tell whether we shall be happy for- 
ever in heaven, or forever miserable in 
hell. This is the sober view in which 
we should always regard this subject; 
this is the view in which the Apostle 
regarded it when he lifted up his voice 
and pronounced with such solemn empha- 
sis, saying, — " But this I say, brethren, the 
time is short" 

1 Horn, ii., 6 ; 7, 8, 9. 



162 THE SHORTNESS AND [SER. VIII. 

Let us inquire now, what influence this 
subject should have upon our life and con- 
duct. Should the thought, that in a few 
days we shall be in the world of spirits, 
have the effect of filling our minds with 
superstitious dread, and of imbittering 
our whole lives with the fearful apprehen- 
sion of death ? No. This course would 
have the tendency of rendering our lives 
still shorter, and would be contrary to 
sound reason, and contrary to God's ex- 
press command : — " Thou shalt not kill." 
Again, because our days are few, should 
we therefore leave all converse with our 
fellow-men, seclude ourselves in some re- 
tired cell, and there spend our time in 
mortifying the body for the good of the 
soul ? This would be a superstitious ab- 
surdity, but no part of Christian duty. 
Utter seclusion from the world is nowhere 
enjoined. The Bible addresses us as mem- 
bers of society, and enjoins upon each in 
his vocation and calling to serve the Lord 
faithfully — " to glorify God in body and 



SER. VIII.] UNCERTAINTY OF TIME. 163 

spirit which are his." The godly are 
represented therein, as the light of the 
world. And they are called upon in all 
their relations, whether domestic, civil or 
religious, to let their light shine, that 
others seeing their good works may be 
led to glorify their Father in heaven. In 
the words that immediately follow the 
text, the apostle clearly shows what effect 
the sentiment therein contained should 
have upon us: "But this I say, brethren, 
the time is short. It remaineth therefore, 
that they that have wives be as though they 
had none, and they that weep as though they 
wept not, and they that rejoice as though 
they rejoiced not, and they that buy as though 
they possessed not, and they that use this 
loorld as not abusing it, for the fashion of 
this world passeth away." 

We learn from this subject, the impor- 
tance of setting a proper estimate on 
all earthly things — of regarding them as 
they really are, fleeting and swiftly pass- 



164 THE SHORTNESS AND [SER. VIII. 

ing away. We may lawfully enjoy, yet 
we should always endeavor to preserve 
ourselves from immoderate attachment to 
the most endearing objects. We should 
sit loose from the world, and be found 
cultivating that pious frame of mind 
that will enable us in cheerful submission 
to take our departure whenever a wise 
and gracious Providence shall call us so to 
do. Such a temper as this will keep the 
mind properly balanced. With its affec- 
tions set on things above and not on 
things on the earth, it will not be puffed 
up with the joys, nor cast down by the 
sorrows of earth. If, with such a tem- 
per, the Christian be in trouble, sorrow, 
need, sickness, or any other adversity, 
possessing natural sensibilities, he may 
weep. But knowing that all his troubles 
and adversities will soon end in the 
tomb, he weeps as though he wept not. 
Does the sun of prosperity shine upon 
his path ? He rejoices as he should, and 
gives thanks to the Author of every 



SER. VIII.] UNCERTAINTY OP TIME. 165 

good and perfect gift. But being duly 
sensible of the transitory and changing 
nature of all earthly things — knowing 
that the clearest morning sky may be 
overcast with clouds long before the noon, 
he tempers all his earthly joys with 
godly fear. This is the noble temper 
with which the apostle designed to in- 
spire his brethren at Corinth— a kind of 
independence of all temporal things. — 
Not despising the good things of the 
world, but putting a due estimate upon 
them, using them in their proper place — 
not seeking happiness in them, but in the 
only living and true God. This is the tem- 
per that becomes us as dying men diligent- 
ly to cultivate. With our hearts thus aloof 
from earth, our conversation in heaven, 
when the time of our departure is at 
hand, we shall be kept in perfect peace, 
and enabled to pass through the valley 
and shadow of death, fearing no evil. 
We may then in the triumphant lan- 
guage of St. Paul, exclaim — u I have 

15 



166 THE SHORTNESS AND [SER. VIII. 

fought a good fight, I have finished my 
course, I have kept the faith : henceforth 
there is laid up for me a crown of righteous- 
ness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, 
shall give me at that day : and not to me 
only, hut unto all them also that love his ap- 
pearing." 1 But on the other hand, if we 
suffer our minds to linger here with fond 
attachment to the things of earth, we 
shall be lifted up by its joys, and thrown 
down by its sorrows ; and when we are 
called to die, having devoted all our at- 
tention to the things of time, the soul 
will be forced away into eternity, with a 
weight of unrepented sins that must 
inevitably sink it into endless perdition. 
For, " except a man be born of water and 
of the Spirit," our Lord declares that " he 
cannot enter into the kingdom of God." 2 
He can neither be admitted into the 
kingdom of grace here, nor participate in 
the ineffable glories of his kingdom here- 
after. As it is not in man to desire 
1 2d Tim. iv., 7, 8. 2 St. Jno. iii., 5. 



SER. VIII.] UNCERTAINTY OF TIME. 167 

misery — all would like at last, after they 
have shook off this mortal coil, to escape 
the damnation of hell, and enter upon an 
endless career of happiness in heaven. 
But this cannot be, there must be a pre- 
vious fitness, a preparation in order to 
participate in the happiness of the saints 
in light. Otherwise, heaven itself would 
be a hell. The imperfect happiness that 
falls to the lot of mortals here on earth, 
flows from congeniality of mind, sentiment 
and affection. And the same law pre- 
vails among the society of the blessed. 
The inhabitants of that glorious region 
are all holy — they have one common cen- 
tre of attraction — they all harmonize in 
adoring, worshipping, and praising Him 
who is God over all blessed forever. 
Place an unholy being in sight of the 
tree of life that is in the midst of the 
Paradise of God, and of those fountains 
of living waters to which the redeemed 
of the Lord are led, and let him hear 
that great multitude which no man can 



168 THE SHORTNESS AND [SER. VIII. 

number, and all the angels that burn 
around the throne, let him hear them 
in full chorus sing : — " Blessing and 
glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, 
and honor, and power, and might be unto 
our God forever and ever f so far would 
he be from participating in the general 
joy, that his misery would be increased. 
He would turn away with a look of malig- 
nant envy and deep despair, exclaiming — 

" Which way I fly is hell, 
Myself am hell." 

The hope therefore that may be enter- 
tained by the ungodly, of finally sharing 
in the blessedness of heaven, is sure to 
meet with an awfully sad disappointment. 
u If we sow to the flesh, we shall of the flesh 
reap corruption, hut if we sow to the Spirit, 
we shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting? 
And this work of sowing to the Spirit, 
must be attended to in the proper season. 
You have a day in which you may labour 
with success. But it is only a day — a 
day swiftly passing away. why should 



SER. VIII.] UNCERTAINTY OF TIME. 169 

we be grovelling here, seeing that we 
shall so soon be called away to try the 
realities of the eternal world? Does it 
not become us to be up and doing the 
work of our soul's salvation while it is 
called, to day ? This is the great lesson 
that a mysterious Providence is enforcing 
upon us by the awful plague* that is now 
sweeping off the race by hundreds, both 
in this and in other countries. God now 
impressively calls upon men "to consider 
their ways," " to do justly, love mercy, 
and to walk humbly before him." Short- 
sighted indeed must he be who has failed 
to observe the growing disposition to cast 
off the fear of God, the wholesome re- 
straints of religion, to profane the Lord's 
day — to lessen the influence of churches 
and ministers, and all sacred institutions. 
Indeed, even children are now much wiser 
than their parents, guardians and teachers, 
in their own estimation. Many of these 
young wiseacres, have yet to learn the 
* The Cholera. 
*15 



170 THE SHORTNESS AND [SER. VIII. 

rudiments of moral science. They may, 
notwithstanding, be seen with all the 
pompous air of assumed independence, 
uniting in the mad cry, — "down with 
churches, down with the ministry." And 
this spirit is doing its legitimate work of 
devastation and ruin. A large contribu- 
tion for a ball, club supper, or some other 
demoralizing amusement, can be raised 
with ten-fold more ease, than even a 
paltry penny collection to sustain a 
church, or Sabbath school institution. 
We speak now with general reference. 
We believe it to be universally true, that 
there is a growing disregard among men 
to all that is godly, holy and good. Men 
are growing wiser, but not better. They 
are making wonderful improvements in 
the arts and sciences. But their minds 
are evidently blinded more and more by 
the god of this world, who leads them 
captive at his will. In view of such a 
state of things, is it any wonder that we 
behold God's judgments abroad in the 



SER. VIII.] UNCERTAINTY OF TIME. 171 

earth — " the pestilence walking in dark- 
ness and destroying" its victims " at 
noonday." For his usual method has 
been, that when his appointed agencies 
have failed to reclaim men from the error 
of their ways, he has uniformly put forth 
the fearful arm of vengeance. Let us be 
wise, and improve the awful visitation in- 
flicted upon us, by sincere repentance ; by 
cultivating works of piety and love; be- 
seeching him to turn away his anger, that 
we perish not. And, a what thy hand 
findeth to do" on this subject, u do it with 
thy might, for there is no work" to be done 
in this matter, " no device" no scheme to 
be devised for your salvation, " no know- 
ledge" of this to be obtained u in the 
grave" of which we are now so frequently 
reminded, by the mourners daily walking 
the streets, carrying man to his long 
home. I beseech you, therefore, to attend 
to the things that belong to your peace, 
now while you may, lest they be forever 
hid from your eyes. 



SERMON IX. 

ADMONITION TO REDEEM THE TIME. 

" Redeeming the time because the days are evil." 

Eph. v. 16. 

The benevolent Author of our exis- 
tence, has allotted us a portion of time, in 
order that we may attend to the various 
duties that devolve upon us in our several 
stations in life, and to prepare by sober, 
righteous and godly living, for the solemn 
concerns of death and eternity. And 
when we are brought seriously to reflect 
upon the very short space that is granted 
to us individually, and the great and im- 
portant work that must be done to secure 
our everlasting happiness, and escape the 
wrath to come, together with the many 
difficulties and dangers to which we are 



174 ADMONITION TO [SER. IX. 

perpetually exposed : when we thus reflect, 
time assumes an importance with which 
it would be well to have our minds at all 
times duly impressed. It was in this 
point of view, its relation to the eternal 
world, that caused the apostle so ear- 
nestly to exhort Christians, in the lan- 
guage of the text, to Redeem the time. He 
regards it as a most precious gem that 
should be, so to speak, bought up, and 
never suffered to be lost, thrown away, 
or wasted in idleness, sloth, vicious prac- 
tices and pursuits; but to be redeemed 
out of their hands, and employed in that 
way which is consistent with the dictates 
of an enlightened conscience, and the 
revealed word of God. To redeem the 
time, therefore, is not to recall hours that 
are past and gone. This is impossible. 
But it is to employ the present in that 
manner that will promote our own true 
peace, the welfare of those around us, 
and thus secure the approbation of our 
Creator. 



SER. IX.] REDEEM THE TIME. 175 

We should redeem the time. 

1. From idleness. An idler, one who 
has no regular employment either for his 
head or hands, is one of the most mise- 
rable and contemptible creatures that 
society can possibly be infested with. 
Such an one is not only a misery to him- 
self, but exerts also a most pernicious 
influence upon all with whom he asso- 
ciates. God created man with active en- 
ergies; and he evidently designed that 
he should put them forth to some good 
purpose, in whatever state of life he may 
be providentially placed. Active indus- 
try is as much a religious duty, as it is 
indispensable to our temporal comforts. 
" Be not slothful in business" says the in- 
spired apostle, but "fervent inspir it, serving 
the Lord." 1 In thus uniting lawful indus- 
try, with fervency of spirit, serving the Lord, 
he evidently designed to give it a sacred 
character. The reason why active indus- 
1 Rom. xii., 11. 



176 ADMONITION TO [SER. IX. 

try may be regarded in close contact with 
religion, is, that a habit of diligence is 
thereby cultivated, which is indispensable 
to true religion. Moral virtue and reli- 
gion are sure to suffer wherever idleness 
prevails. It is an enemy to all good, and 
the nursery of every evil and vicious 
principle and practice. An idler, there- 
fore, should be shunned, as you would the 
plague or pestilence. These remarks may 
not apply to any one present: each one 
may readily point to his daily avocation 
as a just refutation of the charge of idle- 
ness, so far as temporary matters are con- 
cerned. This is all very well in its place, 
w r e are every way disposed to award to 
you all the credit that is due to an atten- 
tive regard to daily business. But there 
is such a thing as idleness in another 
direction in which you may not so easily 
ward olf the conviction of your guilt. 
We are compound beings, possessed of an 
immaterial, as well as a material and 
mortal nature. And the same great Eter- 



SER. IX.] REDEEM THE TIME. 177 

nal who has made it obligatory upon us 
to be active and industrious in view of 
the temporal comforts of the body; has 
also made it our solemn and imperative 
duty, to be diligent, actively engaged with 
reference to the soul, upon which he has 
stamped his own image of immortality. 
What are you doing in this direction? 
What efforts are you putting forth to 
" enter in at the straight gate ;" — " to lay 
hold on eternal life" — to have God for 
your reconciled friend and father, and 
your names written in the Lamb's book 
of life ? Ah ! you cannot nullify the 
charge of idleness here. You are com- 
pelled to acknowledge in your own minds 
that the charge is fully sustained in your 
case. You are aware of having suffered 
many hours to pass away, so far from 
having been employed to any good pur- 
pose, that they may be considered as total 
blanks in your existence. Your golden 
moments have flown swiftly by, and you 
have looked on with as much though t- 

16 



178 ADMONITION TO [SER. IX. 

lessness and indifference, as if your Crea- 
tor had sent you into the world for no 
other purpose than to sit down and quietly 
repose in a state of spiritual stupor and 
inactivity — doing nothing in reference to 
your own salvation, or the salvation of 
others. Our days may be suffered to pass 
away as if they were of no account; but 
it will be seen in a coming day, that time 
wasted and unimproved was noticed by 
Him with whom we have to do. It will 
be seen to your terror and dismay, unless 
averted by timely repentance, that every 
vacant hour will be so many witnesses 
rising up around you in the day of judg- 
ment, to condemn you. Your fate will 
be similar to the unprofitable servant 
who hid his talent in the earth. Time 
is a most precious talent granted us to be 
employed to the honor and glory of God; 
but spiritual idlers bury this inestimable 
jewel in the grave of their " earthly, sen- 
sual and devilish" pursuits and practices. 
What else have they any ground to expect, 



SER. IX.] REDEEM THE TIME. 179 

but to have the awful commission exe- 
cuted upon them. — " Cast ye the unprofit- 
able servant into outer darkness : there shall 
he weeping, and gnashing of teeth" 1 

We ought to redeem time. 

2. From vain and vicious pleasures. 
Man has found out a variety of ways to 
amuse his fancy, and give pleasure to his 
corrupt taste. And to gratify himself in 
this respect, he scarcely begins to calcu- 
late the cost. His estimate of the plea- 
sures of the world is so high, that the cost 
of participation is scarcely thought of. 
To witness a theatrical performance, to 
participate in a ball, or some other con- 
vivial party, his hand readily opens, and 
his means are freely expended; but to 
contribute to the cause of God, religion 
and humanity, it is done, if done at all, 
with a mean, parsimonious and grudging 
spirit. All this clearly shows how strong 

1 Matt. xxv. ; 30. 



180 ADMONITION TO [SER. IX. 

a hold transitory pleasures have in . the 
affections, excluding therefrom all that is 
truly good, holy and divine. But what 
after all is the character of these pleasures 
upon which there is such a high estimate 
placed ? They are all vain and empty as 
a bubble on the w T ave. They are like a 
dream which assumes all the appearance 
of reality, till we awake from our slumber 
and discover the deception. 

They leave no trace upon the mind that 
can be dwelt upon with real satisfaction, 
like that which follows a virtuous and re- 
ligious course. On the contrary, the pur- 
suit of the vanities of life, is not only time 
lost, but it is sure to bring in its train 
that bitter remorse, and those keen up- 
braidings, which foreshadow to the guilty 
mind, the wrath to come. ye lovers of 
pleasures more than lovers of God, you 
w T ho are even now indulging glowing 
anticipations of worldly joys, hear the im- 
pressive voice of inspiration and ponder 
your steps. "Rejoice, young man in 



SER. IX.] REDEEM THE TIME. 181 

thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the 
days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of 
thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes : but 
know thou, that for all these things God will 
bring thee into judgment." 1 How will you 
then answer for so much of your misspent 
time in unsatisfying and vicious plea- 
sures ? Will you say in the presence of 
Jesus, who left us an example that we 
might follow his steps, will you say in his 
presence, that you considered them inno- 
cent amusements? be wise, and 
redeem the time by employing your pre- 
cious moments, not in hewing out cisterns, 
broken cisterns that can hold no water ; 
but in seeking substantial pleasures ; 
that flow from an evidence of your 
acceptance with God, and your adoption 
into the family of heaven. 

Much time may be redeemed. 

3. From unprofitable conversation. 

1 Ecc. xi. 9. 
16* 



182 ADMONITION TO [SER. IX. 

Man is a social being, and may therefore 
derive much improvement, both in an 
intellectual and moral point of view, by 
a free interchange of sentiments and 
opinions upon a proper subject, with his 
associates and friends. The mere sugges- 
tion of another who has viewed the sub- 
ject in a different light from ourselves, 
may in a moment free the mind from 
some difficulty that might take days and 
weeks of private investigation to remove. 
Besides, there is a refined pleasure attend- 
ing this mutual flow of thought. A per- 
son travelling a journey in pursuit of 
something valuable, may enjoy a good 
degree of pleasure by anticipating the 
object of his desire, but how is his joy 
increased, when accompanied on the road 
by associates of congenial minds. It is 
thus with a circle of friends when they 
convene together, and employ their time 
in the reciprocal interchange of thought 
upon a suitable theme. But when per- 
sons meet together and pass away the 



SER. IX.] REDEEM THE TIME. 183 

time in worse than idle talk, circulating 
tales of slander, whispering, backbiting, 
and speaking evil of their fellow-men, 
this is killing time. And how many 
even among the professed followers of 
Christ, too often squander away their 
precious moments in this way. Yfhen 
they are found together, instead of ad- 
hering to the Apostolic injunction, aim- 
ing by their conversation, " to edify, to 
minister grace' to those present, there is 
too often a disposition manifested to in- 
flict an injury upon the absent, forgetting 
that for " every idle word that men shall 
speak, they shall give account thereof in the 
day of judgment." 1 

As candidates for eternity, we should 
also redeem the time. 

4. From Worldly business. Diligent 
attention to the lawful business of life, is 
unquestionably a duty indispensable. " If 
1 Matt, xii., 36. 



184 ADMONITION TO [SER. IX. 

any provide not for his own, and specially 
for those of his own house, he is worse than 
an infidel." 1 But, we are not to infer 
from this inspired declaration, the liberty 
of being absorbed in worldly business. 
The most devoted busines man is careful 
to redeem sufficient time to partake of 
his daily food. And should there be no 
time specially devoted to attaining the 
bread that came down from heaven ? 
Shall the body only be nourished, while 
the soul, the deathless part, is suffered to 
perish for lack of that spiritual meat that 
endureth to everlasting life? What ex- 
cuse will be given by you when called 
to give a strict account of your steward- 
ship at the awful tribunal of the Judge ? 
Will you say that business was so urgent 
that you could not spare any time for 
purely religious purposes ? Such a frivo- 
lous excuse may hush the voice of con- 
science now, but it will not answer in the 
great day of the Lord. David was 
* 1 Tim. v., 8. 



SER. IX.] REDEEM THE TIME. 185 

exalted to the throne, and had the cares 
and perplexities pertaining to the charge 
of a kingdom; yet he, with a host of 
other ancient worthies, will put you to 
silence. They all, without exception, 
had stated hours to retire from the noise 
and bustle of secular business, to com- 
mune with God and their own hearts. 
"Evening, and morning, and at noon" 
says the Psalmist, a will I pray and cry 
aloud, and he shall hear my voice." 1 There 
are many who, so far from cultivating 
piety during the week, are found daringly 
to encroach upon the day consecrated to 
holiness and God — the day on which the 
Prince of life and glory triumphed over 
death, " ascended up on high, led cap- 
tivity captive, and received gifts for men, 
yea, for the rebellious, that the Lord God 
might dwell among them" — this day is 
devoted by many to calculations of the 
loss and gain of business ! 0, what deep 
depravity, what shocking ingratitude is 
1 Psa. lv., 17 



186 ADxAIONITION TO [SER. IX. 

this ! It is from these and other prac- 
tices that might be specified, we are ex- 
horted in the text, to redeem the time. 
The important duty is urged upon us by 
the following powerful motive : " because 
the days are evil." 

The evil days spoken of were those in 
which sin and wickedness prevailed to an 
alarming extent, especially among the 
Gentile nations of the earth. They were 
famous for their literature and knowledge 
of the arts and sciences of civilization, 
but they were nevertheless, sunk into the 
lowest depths of superstition and moral 
debasement. This he uses as an argu- 
ment to his Christian brethren, why 
they should "walk circumspectly, redeeming 
the time" lest they become corrupted by 
the pernicious errors and practices that 
then prevailed. Does not a similar state 
of things exist in the present day ? It 
is true that the impressive sound of the 
church-bell regularly bids the people to 



SER. IX.] REDEEM THE TIME. 187 

enter the courts of the Lord's house, " to 
hear his most holy word, to set forth his 
most worthy praise, and to ask those 
things which are requisite and necessary 
as well for the body, as the soul." The 
heralds of the cross in every direction 
continue to beseech their fellow-men to 
be reconciled to God. Sabbath schools 
are in operation, directing the young in 
the way they should go. Tracts and 
other religious periodicals are scattered 
broad-cast over the country ; yet, maugre 
all the efforts that are made for the refor- 
mation of man, does not sin, with his bra- 
zen front, still stalk abroad in the land, 
leaving misery, ruin, and desolation in 
his track ? How many may we see on 
the Lord's day, instead of being in the 
house of God where prayer is w r ont to be 
made, either standing at the corners of 
the streets, riding about, or sailing on 
pleasure excursions, or assembled together 
in some genteel groggery ! ! Is not the 
list of the intemperate, of gamblers and 



188 ADMONITION TO [SER. IX. 

infidels, fearfully increasing ? Acts of 
high-handed robbery, injustice, cruelty, 
murder and the like, are now of such 
frequent occurrence, that they cease to 
affect us. St. John the divine informs 
•us that he "heard a loud voice, saying, 
Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of 
the sea ! for the devil is come down unto 
you, having great wrath, because he hnoweth 
that he hath but a short time" 1 We do not 
say, that this prophecy refers to the pre- 
sent state of the world, but we may say, 
that the prevailing wickedness of the 
present time, shows that it is not alto- 
gether inapplicable. And is there no 
danger of being contaminated in the 
midst of so much wickedness ? Is it not 
as true now as ever, that, " Evil commu- 
nications corrupt good manners ?" Have 
we not had deplorable instances within 
our own immediate observation, of the 
increase of crime and wretchedness? 
Do we not see some young men, who, a 

1 Rev. xii., 12. 



SER. IX.] REDEEM THE TIME. 189 

few days ago gave fair promise of a course 
of honor and usefulness, falling victims 
to the vice of intemperance ? Where is 
that beautiful and interesting array of 
young men which was seen with sober 
mien and orderly deportment, engaged 
either in the Sabbath school, or taking 
part in the surpassingly beautiful and 
sublime services of our church ? A few, 
we rejoice to say, are still to be found at 
their post. But where does the Sabbath 
find too many of them now ? In the 
path, which if not speedily retraced, will 
inevitably lead to shame, disgrace, and 
ruin in this world, and everlasting pun- 
ishment in the world to come. This is 
an ensnaring world — the moral atmos- 
phere by which we are surrounded is 
charged with death. And if we would 
avoid being fatally infected, we must re- 
deem the time, we must improve it by 
daily seeking that divine aid which will 
enable us to resist with success, the many 
temptations that beset our path; other- 

17 



190 ADMONITION TO [SER. IX. 

wise, you will be carried down the stream 
of this world's delights, and be finally 
lost in the gulf of endless woe. 

2. By evil days the apostle had refer- 
ence to the days of persecution. When 
he wrote the epistle in which the text is 
found, he was imprisoned at Eome, then 
the seat of learning, and the metropolis 
of the world, for the testimony he bore 
to the despised doctrines of the cross. In 
this view his argument may run thus : — 
the days are evil. — You are daily liable to 
be dragged to a loathsome prison, thence 
to the place of execution, therefore, I 
exhort you, to " walk circumspectly" cor- 
rectly, u not as fools, but as wise, redeem- 
ing the time" 

We may not consider our lives to be in 
danger from the spirit of persecution. 
We are permitted to sit under our own 
vine and fig-tree, none daring to molest 
us. But are we secure against the attack 
of some of the multiplied diseases and 



SER. IX.] REDEEM THE TIME. 191 

disasters which daily carry our fellow-crea- 
tures to the grave ? Are you certain of 
living another week, another day, nay, 
another hour? Do you not see some as 
young, healthy and gay as yourselves, 
fade away under the blightings of disease, 
and finally fall like the leaves of autumn ? 
Have you made a league with death that 
it shall not come nigh you ? Were you 
not included in the sentence, — " Dust tliou 
art, and unto dust slialt thou return ?" Ah ! 
it cannot be long before the solemnly im- 
pressive words in our burial service will 
be pronounced over every one of us now 
in divine presence : " earth to earth, 
ashes to ashes, dust to dust." Oh, does 
it become man, mortal man, critically 
situated as he is, passing swiftly through 
time to the eternal world, where his des- 
tiny will be unalterably fixed in a state 
of happiness or misery, depending upon 
the character formed in this probationary 
state ; I say, does it become him in such 
circumstances, to be squandering his time 



192 ADMONITION TO REDEEM THE TIME. [SIR. IX. 

in the vain pleasures and vicious practices 
of the world ? Should he not, on the 
contrary, regard every flying moment as 
precious, and be diligent in " working 
out his own salvation with fear and 
trembling, while God worketh in him 
both to will and do his good pleasure ?" 
This course your own conscience approves, 
and the word of God enjoins. Let the 
time past suffice wherein you have 
wrought folly. Eesolve now that in the 
strength of divine grace, you will no 
longer live unto yourselves, but unto 
Him who died for you and rose again. 
And may He, "of whose only gift it 
cometh that " we can do unto him " true 
and laudable service, grant, that you may 
so faithfully serve him in this life, that 
you fail not finally to attain his heavenly 
promises through the merits of Jesus 
Christ our Saviour." — Amen. 



SERMON X. 

THE WISDOM OF DULY CONSIDERING THE 
LATTER END. 

" Oh that they were wise, that they understood 
this, that they would consider their latter end." 

Deut. xxxii., 29. 

It is a serious thought, not always easy 
to thrust aside, that every thing pertain- 
ing to this life must come to an end, how 
soon none can tell. This is a secret veiled 
in the bosom of the great Eternal. The 
solemn truth we cannot evade; the con- 
viction is deep in our minds, that all 
things which now delight the eye, gratify 
the taste, dazzle and delude the giddy, 
and which excite the ambition of a vain 
multitude, all shall have an end. The 
stars themselves shall fade, the sun grow 

17* 



194 THE WISDOM OF DULY [SER. X. 

dun with age, the earth shall wax old as 
doth a garment, and be changed : and 
man, its honored inhabitant, involved in 
the same destiny, like the flowers of the 
field, shall fade, wither, and finally die. 
Every thing around, about, and within us 
is calculated to prompt us to the import- 
ant duty ; u so to number our days, that we 
may apply our hearts unto wisdom." The 
setting sun closing his golden eye in the 
west — the faded leaf falling to the earth 
— the majestic river flowing on gradually 
untiL finally lost in the bosom of the 
ocean — the daily spectacle of " man going 
to his long home, and the mourners walk- 
ing along the streets," all are so many 
monitors of Providence, reminding us of 
the solemn change we individually must 
shortly make. But notwithstanding the 
instructive lessons that pour in upon us 
from these and other sources, like the Is- 
raelites to whom the text primarily refers, 
the great majority of mankind will not 
be wise : more stupid than the ox, they 



SER. X.] CONSIDERING THE LATTER END. 195 

will not understand, they will not " consi- t 
der their latter end" Happy for you, my 
brethren, did you all form an exception — 
happy, were you free from the charge of 
a criminal thoughtlessness upon this all 
important subject. But you are not so 
devoid of candor as to present your claim 
to innocence on this point. Well do you 
know, and often have you felt the appli- 
cation of the text in your own case ; often 
have you heard the still, but powerful voice 
within, exclaiming, — " Oh, that you were 
wise, that you understood this, that you woidd 
consider your latter end !" 

The two following propositions, will 
form the foundation of the remarks that 
we shall offer for your consideration. 

1st. A due consideration of our latter 
end, is the part of true wisdom. 

2d. The unwillingness of men to be 
wise in those things which involve their 
highest interest, affords matter for deep 
lamentation. 



196 THE WISDOM OF DULY [SER. X. 

1. Duly to consider our end is not occa- 
sionally to bestow some thought upon the 
subject. This we cannot avoid if we 
would. Thoughts of death, will now and 
then, of their own accord, flit across the 
mind of every man. He is compelled, by 
the law of his nature, which, while it 
leads him to look forward to other future 
events, constrains him to give some 
thoughts to the subject of his mortality. 
But such a consideration as this, does not 
constitute true wisdom. A due conside- 
ration of any subject, is to give it that 
practical attention which its importance 
demands. If our end consisted in the 
total annihilation of both soul and body ; 
were we destined to be remanded back to 
nothing ; then, the proper consideration 
of our end would lead us to confine our 
thoughts chiefly to this world. The dic- 
tates of wisdom would be for us to make 
the best we could of our ephemeral exist- 
ence — ■" to eat, drink, and be merry." 
But annihilation is not our destiny. 



SER X.] CONSIDERING THE LATTER END. 197 

" A voice within us speaks the startling word, 
Man, thou shalt never die. Celestial voices 
Hymn it around our souls." 

There will only be a temporary separa- 
tion of parts — the spiritual from the 
material. The body will moulder away 
to its original elements and remain in 
that condition until animated and recon- 
structed again by the voice of the Arch- 
Angel and the trump of God. The soul, 
not subject to dissolution and decay, will 
be conveyed to the Paradise of God, there 
to await in joyful anticipation, the con- 
summation of its bliss, reunited to the 
body, in God's eternal and everlasting 
kingdom : or else be " driven away in its 
wickedness," to participate in the horrors 
of those condemned spirits that are "re- 
served in chains of darkness unto the 
judgment of the great day :" depending 
upon the character formed in this proba- 
tionary state. It is unnecessary to cite 
the Scripture passages that contain the 
truths here advanced. Your perfect fanii- 



1C8 THE WISDOM OF DULY [SER. X. 

liarity with them, we take for granted. 
Seeing then, that in the " latter end" of 
man, his happiness or misery will be unal- 
terably fixed forever, a due consideration 
of it, would unquestionably lead him to 
prepare to avoid the one and enjoy the 
other. And here the great question 
arises, how can sinful man be thus pre- 
pared ? How can he who has transgressed 
the laws of his Maker, and rendered 
himself obnoxious to his sore displeasure, 
become reconciled to him, restored to his 
favor and image here, and be advanced to 
honor, dignity, glory, and endless happi- 
ness hereafter ? There is a way, and but 
one way ; viz., " the new and living way 
opened up for us by the blood of Jesus." 
Reason debased, for centuries tried, but 
in vain, to find, the sure, the narrow way, 
that leads to glory and immortality. But 
it pleased God in infinite benevolence, to 
devise the plan by which " He can be just 
and yet the justifier of him that belie v- 
eth in Jesus, with a heart unto righteous- 



SER. X.] CONSIDERING THE LATTER END. 199 

ness." 6i God so loved the world, as to give 
Ids only begotten Son, that ivhosoever believ- 
eth in him should not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life." 1 We may clothe ourselves 
in the garment of self-righteousness, we 
may felicitate ourselves on the ground of 
our own goodness, and be esteemed by a 
short-sighted world as the best of citizens, 
but this will be found at last to be a poor 
preparation for an exit from time to eter- 
nity. With no other preparation than 
our own righteousness, we shall be like 
the man, spoken of in the Gospel, who 
built his house upon the sand, "When 
the rains descended and the Hood came 
and beat upon his house, it fell and great 
was the fall." 

Nothing can be more absurd than the 
idea of man attempting to recommend 
himself to the favor of God by his own 
fancied goodness. He has often violated 
the law of God which denounces death 
upon the transgressor ; yet, he attempts 
1 St. Jno. iii., 16. 



200 THE WISDOM OF DULY [SER. X. 

to gain the favor of God by his outward 
observance of it, seeking to be justified by 
the law, that condemns him as a trans- 
gressor, and continually cries :— " Pay 
that thou owest" — settle up for your past 
follies. Let us suppose that you are now 
blameless so far as may relate to your 
outward deportment. What is to be done 
with the follies and vanities of youth ? 
What amends can you make for your 
past thoughtless indifference, and criminal 
negligence of God and of his claims upon 
your undivided service ? You must re- 
member, that his law requires a line of 
perfect, unfaltering obedience from the 
time of our accountability to the end of 
life. Its terms are . rigid. Its language 
is: — "Do this and liver "The soul that 
sinneth it shall die," Ah, self-righteous 
man, you are in a dilemma. You must 
either enter and make good your plea at 
the bar of your judge, of perfect obedience 
on your part, or humbly fall at the foot- 
stool of mercy, sue for pardon, and plead 



SER. X.] CONSIDERING THE LATTER END. 201 

the perfect obedience, and vicarious death 
of another, viz., the Lord Jesus Christ. 
To perfect obedience to the law, you can 
lay no claim. " All have sinned and come 
short of the glory of God." None can 
" tell how oft he offendeth." To be justi- 
fied by the deeds of the law, therefore, is 
impossible. The great provision made in 
the gospel, is the only hope of sinful man. 
If then we would be prepared to meet 
death in perfect peace, we must be " found 
in Christ, not having our own righteous- 
ness which is of the law, but that which 
is through the faith of Christ, the right- 
eousness which is of God by faith." The 
promise of eternal blessedness is to those 
only, who are thus united to Christ, by 
that faith " which works by love, purifies 
the heart and overcomes the world ;" who 
have been raised from a death of sin, 
unto a new birth unto righteousness, by 
the power of the Holy Ghost, and are 
walking as those who are alive from the 
dead. The persons who answer this de- 
is 



202 THE WISDOM OF DULY [SER. X. 

scription have been graciously brought to 
understand, and duly consider their latter 
end. They have availed themselves of 
God's plan of reconciliation. Hence, they 
are truly wise. That man would be con- 
sidered wise, who in having to travel 
over a trackless desert infested by rave- 
nous beasts, first provided himself with 
proper guards, and other necessaries pro- 
per to render his journey both safe and 
comfortable. In our pilgrimage through 
mortality, many dangers beset our path, 
from the world, the flesh and Satan. Is he 
not eminently wise, who has chosen the 
Lord for his portion, his strong tower and 
defence ? Such an one need not fear any 
evil tidings, his heart may be fixed, trust- 
ing in the arm of the Lord. That man, 
who, before rearing his superstructure, 
first secures a foundation of sufficient 
strength to bear its weight, may be con- 
sidered wise; but how much more so 
should he be considered, who rears his 
hopes of heaven and eternal happiness 



SER. X.] CONSIDERING THE LATTER END. 203 

upon the Rock of Ages, the sure and 
immutable foundation which God himself 
has laid in Zion. He who provides in 
spring and summer against the cold and 
chilling winds of winter is wise : but how 
much more so is the man who provides 
for his solid comfort against the cold 
blasts of death by securing a shelter 
under the everlasting arm? Such an 
one judges rightly in that which should 
concern him most ; in that which involves 
his highest and best interests ; hence he 
is pre-eminently wise. He regards him- 
self only as a pilgrim, a sojourner here. 
He sets his affections, not on things below, 
but on things above. His conversation is 
in Heaven. He puts a proper estimate 
upon the things of this life. He uses the 
world, as not abusing it. He passes 
through things temporal so as not to lose 
those things that are eternal. He rea- 
sons thus. — The things that are seen, are 
temporal,, but the things that are not seen 
are eternal. What then would it profit 



204 THE WISDOM OP DULY [SER. X. 

me were I to gain the whole world and 
finally lose my soul ? Were all its wealth 
and honor and glory mine, I could keep 
them only a few days. But if I lose my 
soul, it is not lost for a limited time, but lost 
forever. Seeing that his immortal spirit 
outweighs the world with all its magnifi- 
cence and all its glory, he wisely "counts 
all things but dung and loss, that he 
might win Christ, and be found of him in 
peace." But how little of this heavenly 
wisdom is to be found in the world ? If 
we contemplate man as an inhabitant of 
this earth, without reference to eternity, 
and consider his great and wonderful 
achievements in the arts and sciences, we 
are forced to acknowledge his eminent 
wisdom. But when we regard him as a 
candidate for eternity, what a falling off 
is here. How .blind, how grossly ignorant 
is he in his spiritual and eternal concerns ! 
And it is not because of the impossibility 
of his displaying the same wisdom in this 



SER X.] CONSIDERING THE LATTER END. 205 

direction as in the other, but solely be- 
cause he will not — he will not be wise. 

The Scriptures represent man's unwil- 
lingness to accept the offers of mercy as 
made to him in the gospel, as the chief 
cause of his final ruin. " Ye will not come to 
me" says Jesus, u that ye might have life" 1 
u O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou thai killed 
the prophets and stonest them ivhich are sent 
unto thee, how often would I have gathered 
thy children together, as a hen gather eth her 
chickens under her wings, and ye woidd not ! 
Behold, your house is left unto you deso- 
lated 

u Because 1 have called, and ye refused ; I 
have stretched out my hand, and no man re- 
garded : But ye have set at nought all my coun- 
sel and would none of my reproof. I also ivill 
laugh at your calamity : I will mock ivhen 
your fear cometh : when your fear cometh as 
desolation, and your destruction cometh as a 
whirlwind, when distress and anguish cometh 
upon you. Then shall they call upon me, hut I 

1 St. Jno. v., 40. 2 Matt, xxiii., 37-38. 

*18 



206 THE WISDOM OF DULY [SER. X. 

will not answer, they shall seeh me early, hut 
they shall not find me. For that they hated 
hnowledge, and did not choose the fear of 
the Lord. They would none of my counsel, 
they despised all my reproof. Therefore, 
shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, 
and be filled with their own devices." 1 

We pass on to consider. 

II. The unwillingness of men to be 
wise in those things which involve their 
highest interest, affords matter for deep 
lamentation. To see a man dwelling 
close to a perennial spring of water, and 
yet with great labor and fatigue hewing 
out first one broken cistern, and then 
another, and after multiplied disappoint- 
ments to die of thirst, could not fail to 
excite our pity for his consummate folly. 
In this, we have a faint picture of the 
conduct of men generally. The fountain 
of living waters, is within the reach of 
1 Prov. i., 24-31. 



SER. X.] CONSIDERING THE LATTER END. 207 

every man. He has an unconquerable 
thirst for happiness. But instead of 
seeking it where alone it can be found, 
he tries this, that and the other expedi- 
ent, and though disappointed over and 
over again, he will not be wise ; he dies 
eternally, he perishes for lack of those 
heavenly streams, which he might have 
received if he would, " without money 
and without price." The prodigal son, who 
strayed away from the paternal care of a 
kind parent, squandered his substance in 
riotous living, and reduced himself to a state 
of starvation and wretchedness, w r as truly 
an object to be pitied. But preeminently 
so are those who have strayed away from 
the wholesome restraints of their Heaven- 
ly Father. Unwilling to yield to the 
holy requisitions of his love, they follow 
the devices and desires of their own 
hearts. See the multitudinous crowd of 
immortal men, wending their way in the 
" broad" road, led on by Satan, the god of 
this world. A portentous storm is gath- 



208 THE WISDOM OF DULY [SER. X. 

ering not far in the distance. The day of 
God's wrath is at hand, and they are out 
in that dangerous and destructive path 
without a shelter, and in a filthy, ragged, 
and starving condition. Their Heavenly 
Father is willing to shelter them beneath 
his everlasting arm ; to wash them in the 
blood of the everlasting covenant, to 
clothe them with the robe of righteous- 
ness ; to feed them with the bread of 
heaven. He condescends to call after 
the wanderers in the language of paternal 
affection : " My son, give me thy heart." 1 
He expostulates with them, saying, — 
" How long ye simple ones, will ye love sim- 
plicity, and fools hate knowledge ?" 2 " Where- 
fore do ye spend money for that which is not 
bread ? and your labor for that which satis- 
Jieth not ? hearken diligently unto me, and 
eat ye that which is good, and let your soul 
delight itself in fatness." 3 But all these 
kind calls and tender expostulations are 
disregarded. The deluded souls continue 
1 Prov. xxiii., 26. 2 Prov. i., 22. 8 Isa. lv., 2. 



SER. X.] CONSIDERING THE LATTER END. 209 

to wander farther and farther from God. 
Still he cries after them : " Turn you, turn, 
you at my reproof." Some wander at such 
an awful distance, that the voice of mercy 
which once came home to them with power, 
now, dies away in whispers upon their 
obdurate hearts. They wander, until 
they " stumble" at last _" upon the dark 
mountains," and plunge headlong, into the 
whirlpool of endless perdition. This is 
the silly part acted by that being who is 
so prone to pride himself on the dignity 
of his nature. We would not cast any 
reflection upon his dignity; we would 
rather mourn ovej the strong indications 
he gives of a moral desolation. He pre- 
sents a scene truly affecting. He is like 
a noble mansion in ruins. The grand 
and lofty columns, the fine exquisite 
workmanship, which are still seen, are 
striking evidences of former greatness : 
but the glory has departed. It is natural 
for us to linger in pensive melancholy, as 
we behold the remaining traces of depart- 



210 THE WISDOM OF DULY [SER. X. 

ed grandeur. There is something enchant- 
ing in the sight, that keeps us fast bound 
to the spot. Our eyes are fixed upon the 
spectacle. We compare the past with the 
present, and the sad contrast affects the 
heart, and awakens the tenderest emo- 
tions. The unconscious tear stands tremb- 
ling in the eye, as we behold the melan- 
choly scene. But there is nothing so 
affecting, so much to be lamented, as the 
perverse obstinacy, and rebellious course 
of impenitent sinners. It was in view of 
this, that the Psalmist exclaimed : " Rivers 
of waters run down mine eyes, because they 
keep not thy law" 1 It was in view of this, 
that the blessed Jesus lingered about Je- 
rusalem, and " wept over it" saying, " If 
thon hadst known, even thou at least in this 
thy day, the things which belong unto thy 
■peace! but now they are hid from thine 
eyes." 2 It was in view of this, that the 
great Jehovah himself, is represented as 
lamenting, in the terms expressed in our 
1 Psa. cxix., 136. a St. Luke xix. ; 41-42. 



SEE. X.] CONSIDERING THE LATTER END 211 

text, — " 0, that they were wise, that they 
understood this, that they would consider 
their latter end ! " 

Permit me now, my brethren, to urge 
you forward in the glorious pursuit of 
true wisdom. Of all other inquiries, let 
this be the all-absorbing one — What shall 
I do that I may inherit eternal life ? How 
may I ensure a blissful immortality when 
my flesh and my heart shall fail ? Get 
wisdom, but with all your getting, get 
understanding. See to it, that you lay up a 
good foundation against the time to come. 
Ignorance here, is fatal. Better be a way- 
faring man and a fool in other matters, 
so that you be wise unto salvation, than 
to stand upon the loftiest pinnacle of 
earthly wisdom, and be ignorant in hea- 
venly things. The advantages of earthly 
wisdom are confined to this world ; but 
the wisdom which is from above, leads us 
besides " the still waters" of comfort in 
this world, and introduces into that glqri- 



212 THE WISDOM OF DULY [SER. X. 

ous region above, where is fulness of joy 
and pleasures forevermore. I entreat you 
then, above all things, to get this wisdom 
— the wisdom that includes a preparation 
against that hour, when the earth shall 
recede and disappear, and eternity with 
all her awful realities, shall break in upon 
your astonished sight. Prepare, by break- 
ing off your sins, by righteousness and 
turning to the Lord, in full purpose of 
heart. Prepare, by obtaining an interest 
in the merits of Christ, who died for our 
offences, and was raised again for our jus- 
tification. He is your only hope. He is 
the only rod and staff that can comfort 
you when called to pass the valley and 
shadow of death. He is the " bright and 
morning star" that can light up your path- 
way from earth to heaven. Then be wise. 
Choose him for your portion. Take him 
for your " all in all." Pass through things 
temporal, so as not to lose those things 
that are eternal ; counting all things but 
logs, so that you may win Christ, and be 
found of him in peace. 



SEEMON XI. 

A SACRED NEARNESS TO GOD RECOMMENDED. 

" Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." 

Gen. Epis. James iv., 8. 

In discoursing from the words of the 
text, we shall be led to consider. 

First, — The distant relation that fallen 
man sustains to his Maker. 

Second, — The duty enjoined upon man 
to draw nigh to God. 

Thirdly,— The encouragement to the 
performance of this duty. — He will draw 

NIGH TO YOU. 

1. The distant relation that fallen man 
sustains to his Maker. The great God in 
his essential presence, is not far from any 
one of us. " He is about our bed, and 

19 



214 A SACRED NEARNESS [SER. XI. 

about our path, and spies out all our 
ways." He fills the great immensity of 
space, and is therefore, everywhere pre- 
sent at the same time. This truth, too 
large for either human or angelic minds 
fully to grasp, is set forth by the Psalmist 
in language the most lofty and sublime : 
" Whither shall I go from thy Spirit ? or 
whither shall I flee from thy presence ? If 
I ascend up into heaven thou art there. If 
I make my bed in hell behold thou art there. 
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell 
in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there 
shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand 
shall hold me." 1 God is present to spy out 
all our thoughts, motives, intentions, dis- 
positions, tempers and actions: He is pre- 
sent to know, sustain and uphold every 
minute part of his widely extended crea- 
tion, whether animate or inanimate ; aye, 
his presence extends far beyond the bounds 
of those innumerable worlds that roll in 

1 Psa. cxxxix., 7-10. 



SEE. XI.] TO GOD RECOMMENDED. 215 

the wide expanse of heaven ; infinitely 
further than the imagination can possibly 
reach. But notwithstanding the great 
Eternal be thus everywhere present, and 
of course nigh unto all of us, yet, fallen 
man, nevertheless, stands at an awful 
distance from him. The Omnipresence 
of God is one of his natural attributes. 
It follows as a necessary consequence of 
his existence. It is just as impossible 
for the Creator not to be Omnipresent, as 
it is for him not to exist. And that the 
non-existence of the Deity is impossible, 
is clear from what strikes our senses in 
every direction. We see, for instance, 
a variety of living creatures on the earth, 
in the air, and in the waters. And we 
know that they could not create them- 
selves ; they must depend upon some 
other cause for their existence ; and that 
cause must be absolutely independent ; 
for an eternal succession of dependent 
beings is impossible. There must be an 
end to the chain of secondary causes, 



216 A SACRED NEARNESS [SER. XI* 

and that end, is the uncaused, uncreated 
God. Thus we see, that the non-exist- 
ence of God is impossible. And that he 
should not be Omnipresent, is equally 
impossible. He being, as we have seen, 
uncreated ; he must necessarily be abso- 
lutely independent ; and the being who 
is absolutely independent, must be Omni- 
potent, must possess Almighty power, 
power to do everything that does not 
imply a contradiction. And he who has 
power thus to do everything, must be 
everywhere present; for we cannot con- 
ceive of power to do anything, where 
there is no agent to* exert that power. 
But there are other attributes of the 
Deity spoken of in the Holy Scriptures 
denominated moral ; such as his holiness, 
justice, goodness and truth. We need 
recite only a few passages that relate to 
God's moral excellency. " Who is like 
unto thee, Lord, among the gods ? Who 
is like thee, glorious in holiness " x " Thou 
*Ex. xv., 11. 



SER. XI.] TO GOD RECOMMENDED. 217 

art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and 
canst not look on iniquity." 1 u Ood is 
light, and in him is no darkness at all" 2 
Of his justice they thus speak. "Jus- 
tice and judgment are the habitation of thy 
tJwone." 3 u He is excellent in power and 
in judgment, and in plenty of justice." 4 
They are equally explicit in declaring 
his goodness and truth. " The Lord, the 
Lord Ood, merciful and gracious, long- 
suffering, and abundant in goodness and 
truth." 5 Now it is the duty and high 
privilege of man to be conformed to the 
Divine nature in his moral excellence. 
But when we contemplate unregenerate 
man, either in the light of experience or 
revelation, we cannot fail to see the vast 
distance at which he stands from that 
moral likeness of God, which it is his 
privilege to bear. God is holy ; he looks 
upon sin with infinite abhorrence. But 

1 Hab. i., 13. 2 1st Epis. Glen. Jno. 1., 5. 

3 Psa. lxxxix., 14. * Job xxxvii., 23. 

5 Ex. xxxiv., 6. 

19* 



218 A SACRED NEARNESS [SER. XI. 

man is unholy ; he is conceived and born 
in sin. Sinful thoughts, desires, affec- 
tions and tempers, he freely indulges in, 
while sinful practices and pursuits are 
engaged in by him with delight. God is 
just; but man is unjust. He is unjust 
to himself, as he fails to bestow the atten- 
tion that is due to the paramount 
interests of his spiritual nature. This 
being the case, he cannot be otherwise 
than unconcerned about the spiritual and 
eternal concerns of his fellow-creatures. 
He is unjust towards God, in withholding 
that reverential fear and devout service 
to which he has an indisputable claim. 
God is good. His goodness, like the 
bright sun in the heavens, shines along 
the pathway of every child of Adam that 
comes into the world. In all his works 
and ways, he evidently has a kind regard 
to the happiness of the creatures he has 
made. But unrenewed man is so far 
from bearing the moral likeness of his 
Maker in this respect, that, on the con- 



SER. XI.] TO GOD RECOMMENDED. 219 

trary, all his works and ways tend ulti- 
mately, not only to his own misery, but 
to the utter ruin also of all over whom 
he has influence. To use the strong 
language of scripture :— " Destruction and 
misery are in their ways" u and the ivay of 
peace have they not known" 1 We have 
thus given a brief sketch of the moral 
image of unrenewed man. And how 
unlike the moral likeness of his Maker? 
The one is Light, the other, darkness. 
Now so long as man maintains this 
position, so long as he stands in this 
opposing relation to his Maker, he can- 
not be happy. It is impossible. Where 
is there an intelligent creature in the wide 
universe, who can be happy, unless 
approbated by his Maker, the only source 
of happiness ? And can the great Su- 
preme, approbate a character, that is in 
direct opposition to his own ? No, never. 
Light and darkness can amalgamate 
sooner than the Eternal God can look 
1 Eom. iii., 16-17. 



220 A SACRED NEARNESS [SER. XI. 

with complacency, either upon man or 
angel, that does not, in his measure, bear 
his moral image and likeness. There is 
a perpetual war between the two. God 
has no fellowship with the wicked. And 
the wicked have no communion with him. 
" The carnal mind is enmity against God" 
The final issue of this hostility, according 
to the sacred oracles, will be terrible in 
the extreme. They teach us that " the 
day cometh, when all the proud" con- 
temners of God's law, " and all that do 
wickedly," shall, at the awful sentence of 
the Judge, " go away into everlasting 
punishment, where shall be weeping and 
wailing and gnashing of teeth." Awfully 
tremendous is the doom that awaits the 
finally impenitent. But as our heavenly 
Father " hath no pleasure in the death of 
the wicked, but that the wicked turn 
from his wickedness and live," he has in 
infinite kindness devised a plan by which 
he may escape that misery to which his 
native opposition to God will certainly 



SER. XI.] TO GOD RECOMMENDED. 221 

lead. There is no way, however, of 
escape for man, unless he alter his posi- 
tion, unless a radical change take place 
in his moral character. Hence the ex- 
hortation in the text — "Draw nigh to 
God." As man's distance from the moral 
image of God is particularly alluded to, 
so to draw nigh to Him, is to advance 
progressively towards his divine image, 
and likeness. We draw nigh to God : — 

1. By repentance. Eepentance pro- 
perly speaking comprehends three things, 
viz. : conviction of sin, sorrow on account 
of it, and the forsaking of it. The search- 
ing light of heaven first discloses to the 
sinner the sad reality that his "whole 
head is sick," and his "whole heart faint;" 
that, " from the sole of the foot even unto 
the head there is no soundness in it, but 
wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores :" 
that " have not been closed, neither bound 
up, neither mollified with ointment." This 
view of native depravity, this conviction 



222 A SACRED NEARNESS [SER. XI. 

of sin, is accompanied with a generous 
sorrow on account of it. "I am weary" 
says penitent David, " with my groaning ; 
all the night make I my bed to swim : I water 
my couch with my tears. Mine eye is con- 
sumed because of grief." 1 This sorrow, 
however, is not merely a mental anguish 
arising from the fear, of punishment, but 
a tender and filial grief for having sinned 
against the most endearing goodness, and 
offended the kindest and best of friends. 
No other consideration pierces the soul 
so deep and causes it to overflow with 
penitential sorrow, as the thought of its 
ingratitude and rebellion against Him who 
bought us with the Saviour's blood. He 
sums up all his guilt and crime in the peni- 
tent acknowledgement — u Against thee, 
thee only have I sinned." 2 This conviction 
of and sorrow for sin, lead to the forsaking 
of it. The penitent, like the prodigal in 
the Gospe], forms the resolution to arise 
from his state of wretchedness, and he is 
Psa. vi., 6-7. a Psa. 1L, 4. 



SER. XI.] TO GOD RECOMMENDED. 223 

enabled through grace to put his resolu- 
tion into practice : he arises, brings forth 
fruit meet for repentance, ceasing to do 
evil and learning to do well. "The vows 
that" he "made, or that was made in" 
his "name at" his "baptism," he ratifies 
and confirms, "acknowledging" himself 
"bound to believe and to do all those 
things which'' he " then undertook, or" 
his "sponsors undertook for" him. 

The soul has now so far changed 
its position, that whereas sin, in which 
it formerly took so much delight, now 
appears in all its native odiousness, as 
something to be loathed and shunned. 
He perceives also a beauty in the holiness 
of God which he never saw before, and 
his anxious desire is to be conformed in 
his measure, more and more to the same 
image. Hence he draws nigh to God. 

2. In the exercise of faith. Under 
the dispensation of the Gospel, God has 
appointed repentance and a lively faith 



224 A SACRED NEARNESS [SER. XI. 

in his mercy through Christ, as the terms 
to be complied with on the part of man 
in order to his restoration to the divine 
favor. Hence the command : " Kepent 
te and believe the Gospel." 1 So, when- 
ever a soul is suitably humbled under a 
sense of his sins, though he may see 
sufficient grounds for self-reproach for his 
former ingratitude, his unnatural and long 
continued rebellion against God, yet he 
goes to his heavenly Father with the 
determination to submit to his govern- 
ment, imploring and relying upon his 
mercy through Christ. We repeat, that 
he relies upon God's mercy through Christ. 
For we have no grounds to expect pardon- 
ing mercy at the hands of God in any 
other w r ay than through faith in Jesus 
Christ. "No man can come to me" says 
Jesus, "except the Father which hath 
sent me, draw him." 2 Again he says, 
66 Him that cometh to me I will in no ivise 
cast out" 3 Here we learn that in the 
* St. Mark i. ; 15. 2 Jno. vi., 44. 3 Jno . vi , 37. 



SER. XI.] TO GOD RECOMMENDED. 225 

economy of grace God the Father draws 
man : he draws him by the cords of love, 
he sheds light into his mind, and dis- 
covers unto him his wretched condition ; 
he shows him the great provision his love 
has made for his salvation, he directs him 
to look to the Lamb he has appointed to 
take away the sins of the world. And 
whenever the penitent in obedience yields 
to this drawing, and centres all his hopes 
in Him who gave himself a ransom for 
all, then to such an one the promise in 
the text is verified. The Lord in his 
mercy draws nigh to that soul. 

1. He draws nigh to impart a com- 
fortable sense of pardon and reconcilia- 
tion. 

He sheds abroad m the believing heart a 
peace that the world cannot give ; a peace 
that passeth all understanding. " The 
Spirit itself" says St. Paul, "beareth wit- 
ness with our spirit that we are the children 



20 



^26 A SACRED NEARNESS [SER. XI. 

of God." 1 And being emancipated through 
grace, from the servile fear of wrath and 
condemnation, they are enabled to ap- 
proach God as their Almighty friend and 
Father, from whose inexhaustible fulness 
they receive all that they need, both for 
time and eternity. God deals with them 
as children. He manifests himself unto 
them as he doth not unto the world, by 
imparting unto them light, life, strength, 
comfort and consolation, to aid them to 
walk in the path of holiness. Once they 
were strangers to communion with God, 
but now they know what it is to enjoy 
sweet fellowship with the Father and 
with his Son Jesus Christ. But as they 
are daily exposed to a very formidable 
opposition to their advancement in the 
divine life ; an opposition from the world, 
the flesh and Satan, through whose influ- 
ence they would inevitably fall if left to 
themselves, the Lord draws near, — 

1 Rom. viii., 16. 



SER. XI.] TO GOD RECOMMENDED. 227 

2. To guide, direct and support them. 
At all times, and under all circumstances 
of trial, he is near, whispering in tones 
sweeter than heavenly music, saying unto 
them, "Fear not ; be not dismayed, I am thy 
God, I will uphold thee, I will strengthen 
thee!' Though they pass through the 
waters of affliction, he assures them that 
" they shall not be overflowed." And 
when they are called to " walk through 
the valley and shadow of death," he will 
be the rod and staff to comfort them, and 
will ultimately lead them to that eternal 
rest that remains for the people of God. 

How thankful we should be, my breth- 
ren, for the great provision that is made 
for us in the gospel. We had by wicked 
works alienated ourselves from God, ren- 
dered ourselves obnoxious to his wrath 
and sore displeasure — " treasured up unto 
ourselves wrath against the day of wrath 
and revelation of the righteous judgment 
of God." But in his infinite benevolence 
he contrived a plan by which we may be 



228 A SACRED NEARNESS [SER. XI. 

brought back, restored to his favor and 
image here, and finally exalted to ever- 
lasting happiness in the bright world 
above. Let those who have been gra- 
ciously brought into a sacred nearness to 
God, show their thankfulness for this ines- 
timable privilege, by making nearer ap- 
proaches to him, by diligent attendance 
upon all the appointed means of grace — 
daily cultivating those graces of the Spirit 
which in the sight of God are of great 
price. " The path of the just is as the 
shining light, which shines more and 
more unto the perfect day." The nearer 
you approach to Him, the nearer will He 
be found to you, imparting more light to 
direct you in the way in which you should 
go ; more strength to enable you to resist 
your spiritual foes ; more comfort to ani- 
mate you on your pilgrimage. Thus 
advancing in the divine life, being ambi- 
tious to comprehend with all saints, what 
is "the length and breadth, height and 
depth, and to know the love of Christ 
which passeth knowledge," you may hope 



SER. XI.] TO GOD RECOMMENDED. 229 

to have an abundant entrance into that 
kingdom where is fulness of joy and plea- 
sures forevermore. 

We would now address a few words, 
especially, to that part of our hearers who 
are far off from God by wicked works. 
My impenitent hearers, consider what a 
fearful position you occupy — enemies to 
the great God of the universe ! You may 
be shocked at this, but it is nevertheless 
true. Every one now in Divine presence, 
who has arrived to the years of maturity, 
and is found in a state of impenitency, is 
an enemy to God. You are rebels against 
His government. You stand in battle 
array against him, led on by " the Prince 
of Darkness, he who now worketh in the 
hearts of the children of disobedience." 
And, what do you suppose, will be the 
issue of this hostility ? Canst thou, whose 
habitation is in the dust, contend with 
the arm of Omnipotence ? Suppose the 
wrath of every individual in this commu- 
nity was aroused against you, would you 

20* 



230 A NEARNESS TO GOD RECOMMENDED. [SER. XI. 

stand singly and alone, and contend 
against it ? No. You would escape for 
your life ; you would prefer a lodging in 
some vast wilderness. But what will you 
do when the Lord " ariseth to shake terribly 
the earth f When the great day of his 
wrath shall come, whither shall you fly ? 
" Behold, he cometh ivith clouds, and every 
eye shall see him, and they that pierced 
him" Where now will you find shelter 
from that " fire that shall devour before 
Him?" Where in the wide universe 
will you then find an all-availing friend ? 
Thank God, that we are yet pirsoners 
of hope, that a Throne of Grace is 
erected, and that sinners may now 
obtain mercy and find grace to help them 
in their time of need. I beseech you, 
therefore, to improve these precious pri- 
vileges, while as yet pardon may be 
obtained. Lay down the weapons of 
your rebellion, and fight against God no 
more. Acquaint now thyself with Him, 
and be at peace. Draw nigh to Him, and 
He will draw nigh to you. 



SERMON XII. 



HAPPY END OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD. 



"Fob, David after he had served his own genera- 
tion by the will of God, fell on sleep."* 

Acts xiii. — 36. 



It requires but little reflection clearly 
to perceive, that the benevolent Author 
of our existence has sent us into the world 
to be active : active in the discharge of 
all those duties that conduce to our own 
individual happiness, and the happiness of 
those around and about us. The chain 
of mutual dependence that connects the 
one family of man together ; the progres- 
sive improvement in moral and intellec- 

* Preached on occasion of the death of Rev. Peter 
Williams, rector of St. Philip's Church, New York 
city, Nov. 15th, 1840. 



232 HAPPY END OF THE [SER. XII. 

tual worth of which he is susceptible ; 
the clear indications he skives of being an 
heir of immortality, destined to survive 
the globe he inhabits ; all show, that he 
has been made an inhabitant of this world 
for quite different purposes than to sit 
down on the lap of ease, and be a mute 
spectator of what he beholds around him. 
" I must work the works of him that sent me 
tohile it is day ;" 1 was the motto of our 
divine exemplar, while his dwelling was 
among the sons of men. True it is, that 
no mortal man, nor naming seraph, was 
adequate to the great work which he, in 
amazing condescension, undertook to per- 
form, and which he so triumphantly 
finished. But it is vain for any to bear 
His name, who is not actuated by the 
same principle of devotedness to God, that 
shone so conspicuously in His eventful 
life. 

The life of the Christian is a state of 
service. He is in the condition of a 
1 John ix. ; 4. 



SEE. XII.] SERVANTS OF GOD. 233 

servant, ordered with others into their 
Master's vineyard, to perform a certain 
amount of labor. They all have a day 
in which they may attend to the work 
allotted them. And, however, some may 
loiter away their time and neglect their 
work in defiance of the orders given, the 
Christian, as a good and faithful servant, 
is found diligently employed at the post 
assigned to him. Being duly impressed 
with the importance of what he has to 
do, and with the value of time allotted 
him, he " works out his own salvation 
with fear and trembling, while God 
worketh in him Sboth to will and to do of 
his good pleasure." He labors to have 
that " Kingdom" established in his heart 
that consisteth in (i righteousness, peace 
and joy in the Holy Ghost." The oppo- 
sition he meets with in this work, affords 
him ground for greater diligence. The 
world, in all its fascinating and bewilder- 
ing charms, is often presented, in order 
to divert his attention; the remains of 



234 HAPPY END OF THE [SER. XII. 

inward depravity often prove a source 
of much trouble and difficulty in the way 
of his progressive improvement ; Satan, 
that invisible but powerful enemy, uses 
his various devices to harass, intimidate 
and dishearten. But maugre all this 
hostile and formidable array, he is ena- 
bled in the strength of Jesus to persevere 
in his course. He adds to his "faith, 
virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to 
knowledge, temperance: and to temperance, 
patience ; and to patience, godliness ; and 
to godliness, brotherly-kindness; and to 
brotherly -kindness, charity." 1 The Chris- 
tian, in order to be successful in securing 
his own personal salvation, finds that it 
requires continual watchfulness, prayer, 
self-denial and diligent attendance on all 
the appointed means of grace. But his 
efforts do not terminate on himself. 
" He serves his generation." He " looks 
not on his own things," exclusively, 
"but also on the things of others." 
1 2d Peter i. ; 5-6-7. 



SER. XII.] SERVANTS OF GOD. 235 

True religion expands the heart ; it leads 
those who pay homage at her holy altar 
to devote a portion of their time and 
talents towards ameliorating the condi- 
tion of their fellow-men. While it con- 
sists with paying special regard to our 
own personal happiness, or the happiness 
of those with whom we are connected by 
the ties of blood, conjugal relation or 
Christian fellowship, it cannot be confined 
within these narrow limits. Unrestricted 
by these ties, it extends its kind wishes 
and benevolent regards to the limits of 
the habitable globe. Its sincere and 
devout prayer is ; — " Thy Kingdom 
come : Thy will be done on earth as 
it is in heaven." Nor does it rest in 
kind feelings towards mankind. It lends 
a helping hand to all those institutions 
whose object is to advance peace and 
happiness, truth and justice, religion and 
piety throughout the earth. Under its 
expanding influence our hearts and hands 
will be open to supply the needy, and to 



236 HAPPY END OF THE [SER. XII. 

every species of distress we shall be dis- 
posed to give relief. Even towards our 
enemies, we shall not be satisfied with 
verbal expressions of kindness, but will 
be ready at the first opportunity to give 
our kindness a tangible form. 

The rule by which the Christian is 
governed in his actions deserves our 
notice. 

"He serves his generation by the will 
of God." It is possible for a person to 
render very important services to the age 
in which he lives, without having any 
reference whatever to the will or com- 
mands of his Maker. He may give libe- 
rally to the poor and needy, he may exert 
his talents in diffusing correct notions on 
the subject of human rights; he may take 
a conspicuous part in all the great moral 
enterprises, which, like "the leaves of the 
tree of life, are for the healing of the 
nations," and at the same time be actu- 
ated by no higher motive than self- 



SER. XII.] SERVANTS OF GOD. 237 

aggrandizement. "Verily," as our Saviour 
said of the Pharisees, "they have their 
reward." They may obtain the object of 
their pursuit — "the praise of men;" but 
the plaudit of Heaven they cannot hope 
to receive. For all works flowing from 
such motives, however extolled among 
men, are in the sight of God of no value. 
On the other hand, the true Christian is 
governed in his actions by a due regard 
to God. His will or word is the regu- 
lating principle in all his works and 
ways. In whatever station Divine Provi- 
dence sees fit to place him, whether in a 
public or private — in whatever condition, 
whether rich or poor, high or low, lie 
makes the will of God as contained in his 
word the rule by which he acts. This 
is ever a "lantern unto his feet and a 
light unto his path." What a wide con- 
trast presents itself between the Phari- 
saical and the truly godly man. While 
vain-glory is the only incentive by which 

the former is moved, the latter is actuated 

21 



238 HAPPY END OF THE [SER. XII. 

by motives of piety to his Maker. Charac- 
ters so essentially differing from each other, 
cannot fail to secure for themselves in the 
end widely different results. Fame and 
popular applause may be very soothing 
to the worldly mind in the day of health 
and manly vigor. But when the solemn 
hour of departing life arrives it vanishes, 
leaving the trembling spirit agitated under 
the most fearful and awful apprehensions 
of a judgment to come. But the faithful 
servants of the Most High, ' after having 
" served their generation" 6 %,' or accord- 
ing to, " the will of God" are said to "fall 
asleep." This is a figurative expression 
which is often used in Scripture to signify 
the peaceful and happy termination of 
the Christian's .mortal life. Their death 
is represented under the idea of sleep. 

1. On account of the sweet calm and 
composure in which they depart this life. 
The approach of death excites no terror 
in the bosom of the Christian, because he 
has the Lord Jehovah for his everlasting 



SER. XII.] SERVANTS OF GOD. 239 

strength. It matters not under what cir- 
cumstances he comes, whether at mid- 
night or in the morning; whether in a 
slow measured pace, or as quick as the 
lightning's flash, he walks " through the 
valley and shadow of death," calm and 
collected, fearing " no evil," for the " rod 
and staff" of his divine Master afford him 
unspeakable " comfort." " The sting of 
death" being extracted, he is enabled in 
grateful adoration to exclaim : " Thanks 
he to God which giveth us the victory through 
our Lord Jesus Christ" 1 Death to the 
pious may with great propriety be repre- 
sented under the idea of sleep. 

2. Because they then rest from all the 
toils and cares inseparable from this pro- 
bationary state. As when evening comes 
on the labourer takes his rest, and forgets 
the toils of the day when he lies down to 
sleep, so at death, the faithful servant of 
God finishes his course of service, retires 
1 1 Cor. xv., 57. 



240 HAPPY END OF THE [SER. XII. 

from the field of labor, and then goes to 
his rest in the Paradise of God. There, 
he joyfully waits in anticipation of that 
" crown of righteousness which the Lord, the 
righteous Judge, shall give at that day, unto 
all them that love his appearing." 1 The 
disembodied spirit in the heavenly world, 
unquestionably, enjoys all the happiness 
that it is capable of in its separate state. 
But, its full and perfect fruition cannot 
be realized until "Christ shall appear the 
second time without sin unto salvation." 
Then, and not till then, shall the whole 
company of the redeemed exult in " the 
saying brought to pass /■ that, "Death is 
swallowed up in victory" 2 This leads us 
to consider. 

3. Another reason why the pious may 
be said to 'fall asleep' in death. — Their 
bodies shall then be raised to a glorious 
immortality. Revelation teaches that at 
the final catastrophe of the world, man- 

* 2d Tim. iv. ; 8. 2 1 Cor. xv., 54. 



SER. XII.] SERVANTS OF GOD. 241 

kind universally shall be aroused from 
their long slumbers, and be made to start 
into life. But so broad will be the line 
of distinction drawn, that the renewed 
cheerfulness and vigor that follow rest, 
cannot apply to all. " Many of them that 
sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, 
some to everlasting life, and some to shame 
and everlasting contempt." 1 " The hour is 
coming" said our Lord, " in the which all 
that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 
and shall come forth /' — but mark the dis- 
tinction ; " they that have done good unto 
the resurrection of life; and they that have 
done evil, unto the resurrection of damna- 
tion" 2 The bodies of the saints shall be 
formed and fashioned like the glorified 
body of Christ : made capable of enjoying 
in union with the soul, and bearing up 
under, that, "far more exceeding and 
eternal weight of glory T Oh ! how full 
of comfort is this consideration to the 
believer. While he, with a sorrowing 
1 Dan. xii., 2. 2 John v., 28-29. 

21* 



242 HAPPY END OF THE [SER. XII. 

heart, deposits in the grave a departed 
friend who died in the Lord, he may look 
forward with a lively hope to the resur- 
rection morning, when the vast empire of 
death shall be utterly abolished; when 
the bodies of the saints shall arise all- 
glorious and immortal. Then, these 
earthly tabernacles will no longer be clogs 
to the soul in her devotional exercises; 
but happy instruments and assistants in 
all the exalted services of the Church tri- 
umphant above. 

But, on the other hand, the wicked, 
being u vessels of wrath fitted to destruc- 
tion" will be raised with bodies built upon 
indestructible materials, only to be made 
capable of enduring in union with the 
soul, that "horrible tempest" of wrath, 
which is to be their portion forever and 
ever. Oh, who does not wish to escape 
this tremendous doom of the finally im- 
penitent, and to share in the ineffable 
glories that are in reserve for the godly. 
Baalam exclaimed : " Let me die the 



SER. XII.] SERVANTS OF GOD. 243 

death of the righteous, and let my last 
end be like his I" 1 But how , vain was 
such a wish unaccompanied with the 
necessary qualifications. However strong 
the desire of the ungodly may be to die 
the death of the righteous and to have a 
glorious end like theirs, it can never be 
realized. The only way to this, is to live 
the self-denying and pious life of the 
righteous. We must here like them be 
raised from a death of sin unto a life ot 
righteousness by the power of the Holy 
Spirit. And being thus quickened to life, 
we must walk " as those that are alive 
from the dead: seeking for glory, honor 
and immortality, hy a patient continuance 
in well-doing : being careful to maintain 
good works, that are good and 'profitable 
unto men" A firm foundation of peace 
and comfort at the closing scene of life is 
laid, only, after we have thus served our 
generation by the will of God. Such was 
the character and end of our late friend 
1 Num. xxiii., 10. 



244 HAPPY END OF THE [SER. XII. 

and brother, the Rev. Peter Williams; 
called away suddenly to us, but not to 
him, from the field of toil and labor, to 
rest in Abraham's bosom. Our departed 
friend was brought under the influence of 
saving grace in the most favorable season 
of life. He gave heed to the admonition : 
" Remember now thy Creator in the days of 
thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor 
the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I 
have no pleasure in them." 1 Blessed as he 
had been with the advantage of pious 
parents, he very probably traced his early 
religious impressions to their godly admo- 
nitions and counsels. The time however 
came that r must come to all, when the 
sacred tie that bound the hearts of parents 
and child together, had to be severed by 
death. He was left behind to mourn the 
loss of them for awhile ; but with what 
raptures must they have hailed each 
other as they met again on the borders of 
the heavenly world, to part no more for- 
1 Ecc. xii. ; 1. 



SER. XII.] SERVANTS OF GOD. 245 

ever. At the age of seventeen or eighteen 
years, he became a communicant member 
of the Episcopal church of which Dr. 
Lisle was pastor. Soon after, he assisted 
an aged gentleman, whose name was 
Thomas McKoom, in giving catechetical 
instruction to the children assembled in a 
private room rented for that purpose. In 
the same place a number of adults regu- 
larly met on Sunday evenings for religious 
purposes. The exercises were generally 
conducted by Mr. McKoom. After the 
death of this gentleman, Mr. Williams 
was regularly appointed lay-reader. He 
acted in that capacity until the year 1820, 
at which time he was ordained deacon by 
Bishop Hobart in the church in which he 
dispensed the word of life to the close of 
his earthly pilgrimage. He was ordained 
priest by the same Bishop in the year 
1826. He manifested a deep concern for 
the improvement not only of the people 
of his charge, but for his brethren gene- 
rally. Hence he was found contributing 



246 HAPPY END OF THE [SER. XII. 

his influence and pecuniary means towards 
supporting the various organized instru- 
mentalities that had a tendency to elevate 
and improve the condition and character 
of his oppressed people. I doubt very 
much, whether there exists in the city of 
New York one single society having an 
immediate bearing on the general interests 
of our people, but what met with his 
countenance and support. He was not 
conspicuous in these matters. For no 
man, perhaps, was less given to display, 
or aimed less at popular applause than he. 
If he could hide himself from personal 
gaze, he seemed to be best pleased. His 
whole deportment seemed to say : — 

11 Let me be little and unknown, 
Lov'd and priz'd by God alone." 

A retiring modesty and unaffected diffi- 
dence formed a very prominent feature 
in his character. His hopes for an im- 
provement in the character of our people 
were in the young and rising generation, 



SER. XII.] SERVANTS OF GOD. 247 

in whom he manifested a lively interest. 
Did he see a promising youth, who lacked 
nothing but the necessary advantages to 
enable him to reflect credit on himself and 
people in a moral and intellectual point 
of view; he was the man that would 
spare no pains to get such an one in a 
situation favorable to the development 
of his powers. He took delight in seek- 
ing out such cases. There is now a high 
school in the city of New York that owes 
its establishment chiefly to his untiring 
efforts. 

He was a universal friend. His coun- 
tenance, which was expressive of kind 
and benevolent feelings, added to that 
ease and gentleness which were ever seen 
in his manners, told every one that ap- 
proached him, that he was in the presence 
of a friend. He loved every one, hence 
he was universally beloved in return. 
To use the language of one w T ith whom 
he had long been most intimate : — " he 
was a friend to every body — he was 



248 HAPPY END OP THE [SER. XII. 

always in trouble about other people's 
troubles. He was a kind of depository 
for every one to lodge his cares and anxie- 
ties. People of different denominations, 
whenever they got in difficulty, would 
invariably go to him ; and he, in the 
kindness of his heart, would as often use 
his endeavors to have their affairs satis- 
factorily settled." 

As it regards his fidelity and zeal in the 
discharge of his ministerial duties, I need 
only quote the words of his Diocesan, 
delivered on the day of his interment. 
" It was my privilege," says the venera- 
ble Prelate, " to be often the depository 
of the cares and anxieties, the longing 
desires and earnest endeavors, the 
w T atchfu] solicitudes, the cheering hopes, 
the affectionate fears, and practical de- 
pendance on God's grace, with which he 
gave himself, instant in season and out 
of season to his pastoral charge. I have 
often said, and would now say, in con- 



SER. XII.] SERVANTS OF GOD. 249 

scious sincerity and integrity of heart, 
that in all the wide range of my observa- 
tion, I never knew a pastor whose whole 
soul seemed more engaged in the great 
work to which he had been set apart, I 
have seen this in the happy results of his 
ministry, and felt it in the many occasions 
on which he has taken counsel with me 
in matters pertaining to his high and holy 
trust." 

During the last two or three years of 
our departed friend's life, it was evident 
to his friends that his health was de- 
clining. I have been informed that a 
little while previous to his death, he had 
one or two attacks of the apoplexy ; and 
that he was impressed with the idea that 
he would be called away in one of these 
attacks. The solemn messenger, it is 
true, did not come in this form, but his 
purpose was not executed with less des*- 
patch. He was aroused from his bed at 
the hour of 11 o'clock, Saturday night, 

17th ult, by an alarm of fire. He looked 

22 



C5T) HAPPY END OF THE [SER. XII. 

out at his window, and immediately com- 
plained of a difficulty in breathing ; and 
at 3 o'clock Sunday morning, he leaned 
his head on his Saviour's bosom, and 
breathed his life out sweetly there. Peace 
to his mortal remains, until reanimated by 
the voice of the Archangel and the trump 
of God. 

The task of friendship done to the 
memory of our deceased brother, I shall 
conclude in a few words to his dear rela- 
tives. And here, my duty is easy. I have 
only to point you, my dear friends, to the 
consoling ingredients with which your 
cup is mixed. You are taught by the 
holy apostle, St. Paul, not to be sorry as 
men without hope for those who sleep im 
Jesus. For the comfort of the bereaved 
and disconsolate, a voice from heaven 
proclaimed : — " Blessed are the dead who 
die in the Lord : even so saith the Spirit : 
for they rest from their labors." I know it 
would have added to your consoling 
thoughts, if your hands had administered 



SER. XII.] SERVANTS OF GOD. 251 

to the last necessities of decaying nature ; 
if you had been permitted to stand 
around him and witness that calm sere- 
nity of his countenance that bespoke his 
inward peace. But the great Supreme, 
who doeth all things right, ordered it 
otherwise : and it is for us to quiet every 
feeling by the pious consideration—" It is 
the Lord" Ever cherish his memory by 
following his example of piety and devo- 
tedness to God. Take Christ as your por- 
tion, and though separated you must be 
for a while, you shall unite again in that 
glorious region where parting shall be no 
more forever. May we all be awakened 
by this visitation of Providence, to a deep 
sense of the vanity and uncertainty of 
human life ; and be graciously led to seek 
supremely those things which are above ; 
" that so, among the sundry and manifold 
changes of the world, our hearts may 
surely there be fixed, where true joys are 
to be found, through Jesus Christ our 
Lord." — Amen.